For­eign Min­istry raises travel ad­vi­sory for Seoul

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

The Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs (MOFA) is rais­ing its travel ad­vi­sory to Seoul to yel­low, sec­ond out of its four-level alert sys­tem, fol­low­ing the rapid spread of the Mid­dle East Re­s­pi­ra­tory Syn­drome Coro­n­avirus (MERS-CoV) there.

Other ar­eas will main­tain the gray level travel alert, the min­istry said.

In view of the close ex­changes be­tween Tai­wan and South Korea and South Korea’s closing of 214 schools on June 3 amid the MERS scare, the min­istry raised its alert level for safety con­cerns.

The yel­low level serves to re­mind peo­ple to ex­er­cise cau­tion and re­view whether to travel there. In par­tic­u­lar, they should re­frain from vis­it­ing med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions ex­cept for nec­es­sary med­i­cal care.

Un­der the four-tier travel ad­vi­sory sys­tem, the low­est alert level is gray, fol­lowed by yel­low, then or­ange, and fi­nally red. A red alert is the high­est warn­ing level, which ad­vises peo­ple to re­frain from trav­el­ing to the af­fected re­gion.

South Korea has re­ported two deaths and 30 con­firmed MERS cases since the first re­ported case last month.

Tourists to Korea Decline

Mean­while, two ma­jor travel agen­cies re­ported that the num- ber of peo­ple trav­el­ing to South Korea de­clined, but it was not a mas­sive dropoff.

Lion Travel ( ) said some in­di­vid­u­als have de­layed their travel to South Korea, but their group tours have been op­er­at­ing nor­mally.

The com­pany said that it would work with the MOFA’s pol­icy.

Phoenix Tours ( ) said that the MOFA has yet to raise its travel ad­vi­sory alert to “or­ange” level, which calls for the avoid­ance of un­nec­es­sary travel, and the sched­uled tours have been run­ning as usual.

Tai­wan on Alert as MERS Spreads in South Korea

The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol (CDC, ) said Wed­nes­day that it is keep­ing close tabs on the MERS-CoV) scare in South Korea and will ad­just its con­tin­gency mea­sures as nec­es­sary.

“The CDC is fol­low­ing the lat­est de­vel­op­ments and will take con­tin­gency mea­sures based on the sit­u­a­tion,” CDC Deputy Direc­tor-Gen­eral Chou Jih-haw ( ) said as Tai­wan stepped up prepa­ra­tions in case the virus spreads to Tai­wan.

A drill was held at the Hs­inwu branch of Taoyuan Hos­pi­tal on Wed­nes­day to sim­u­late mov­ing MERS pa­tients from the first floor to neg­a­tive pres­sure wards on the hos­pi­tal’s fourth floor.

The drill was aimed at en­sur­ing the timely ad­mit­tance of pa­tients to a hos­pi­tal in case of a MERS out­break and pre­vent­ing in-hos­pi­tal in­fec­tions, Chou said.

Health Min­is­ter Chi­ang Been­huang ( ) said Tai­wan re­mains on guard against MERS and has stepped up bor­der con­trols and in­creased in­ven­to­ries of sur­gi­cal masks and other nec­es­sary items.

The min­istry was to hold a news con­fer­ence later Wed­nes­day that will in­clude a doc­tor who re­cently trav­eled to South Korea to see what mea­sures Seoul has taken as it grap­ples with the lethal virus.

De­fense Min­is­ter Kao Kuangchi ( ) , mean­while, has asked re­lated agen­cies to meet to dis­cuss the pos­si­ble devel­op­ment of the virus and con­tin­gency mea­sures, in­clud­ing prepa­ra­tions of neg­a­tive pres­sure beds, N95 masks and protective gar­ments at mil­i­tary hos­pi­tals.

CNA

Hos­pi­tal work­ers at the Hs­inwu branch of Taoyuan Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal com­mence MERS out­break drills yes­ter­day, un­der the in­spec­tion of Health Min­is­ter Chi­ang Been-huang ( ). As the MERS out­break in South Korea spreads, seven hos­pi­tals in the Taoyuan area com­pleted neg­a­tive pres­sure tests and prepa­ra­tion of 195 hos­pi­tal beds, in or­der to tackle the pos­si­ble out­break and pre­vent in­house in­fec­tions.

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