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Taiwan takes steps to combat H7N9 virus
Central News Agency
2013-04-24 11:13 PM
Taipei, April 24 (CNA) Taiwan's Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday outlined a series of measures to combat the deadly H7N9 avian flu, after a Taiwanese man who returned from a visit to eastern China tested positive for the virus. Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta said people who come in contact with any confirmed H7N9 cases will be monitored closely, special H7N9 clinics will be set up at hospitals, and a total of 22 hospitals nationwide will be equipped with negative pressure quarantine rooms. The DOH will also recruit more laboratories to test for the H7N9 avian virus and will speed up the research and development work on an H7N9 vaccine, he said. In addition, the DOH will disseminate relevant health information, and enhance intra-departmental prevention and control efforts, Chiu said. Premier Jiang Yi-huah is scheduled to visit Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center early Thursday morning, in the wake of the country's first confirmed case of H7N9. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has followed a directive by the epidemic command center to set up an emergency response team to assist in the national sanitization and disease prevention efforts, according to MND spokesman Major General Luo Shou-he. Meanwhile, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., known in China as Foxconn, said that since the deadly H7N9 bird flu outbreak in China, it has established a special task force to help monitor its employees' health. Hon Hai, which makes Apple products such as iPads and iPhones, said it has stepped up sanitization efforts at its assembly plants in China and has asked its executives who frequently travel between Taiwan and China to stay at home if they develop any flu symptoms. The Taiwanese company said it has not been informed of any suspected H7N9 cases among its employees. In Hong Kong, the Centre for Health Protection said Wednesday there have been no confirmed cases of H7N9 in the special administrative region. The Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong said it will closely monitor Hong Kong travel groups in Taiwan in light of the first confirmed case of H7N9 on the island. Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center said Wednesday that a 53-year-old Taiwanese man who once worked in China's Jiangsu Province has tested positive for the H7N9 avian flu virus, the first confirmed case in Taiwan and the first outside China. The man had a high fever for three days, the center said. As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Taiwan had reported 129 suspected H7N9 cases, 128 of which have been ruled out as infections of the deadly virus, according to Chou Jih-haw, deputy director-general of the DOH's Centers for Disease Control (CDC). CDC statistics indicate that there are 108 confirmed H7N9 cases in China so far, with 22 deaths. (By Angela Tsai, Chen Ching-fang, Stanley Cheung and Ann Chen)
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