Re­funds avail­able for flights to South Korea

Na­tion con­sid­er­ing not at­tend­ing SK’s Gwangju Univer­si­ade in July

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY SUN HSIN- HSUAN

To pre­vent the MERS virus hit­ting the na­tion, tick­ets for South Korea bought from Tai­wan air­line com­pa­nies may be can­celed and fully re­funded be­fore June 12, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials from the Civil Aero­nau­tics Ad­min­is­tra­tion (CAA, ).

MERS took an­other life in South Korea yes­ter­day, and has now been re­spon­si­ble for a to­tal of six deaths in the coun­try so far this year, ac­cord­ing to South Korean of­fi­cials. The fa­tal dis­ease has been spread­ing faster than had pre­vi­ously been ex­pected, mak­ing the coun­try sec­ond to Saudi Ara­bia in num­ber of con­firmed cases.

In re­sponse, the Cen­ters Dis­ease Con­trol (CDC, for

) has al­ready raised its three-tier safety sys­tem for travel to Seoul to Level two, “alert.” The Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs (MOFA,

) has also switched its travel warn­ing light from “gray” to “yel­low” in the past week. The CAA fol­lowed up pre­ven­tion drills by col­lab­o­rat­ing with Tai­wan air­line com­pa­nies, launch­ing a full­re­fund pol­icy for flight can­cel­la­tions to South Korea.

The four air­lines cur­rently agreed upon the full-re­fund pol­icy are China Air­lines, Eva Air, Tran­sAsia Air­ways and Man­darin Air­ways. For tick­ets is­sued be­fore June 5, full-re­fund can­cel­la­tions may be made free-ofcharge be­fore June 12, of­fi­cials said. More­over, if the dis­ease con­tin­ues to spread, the date for buy­ers to re­quest full-re­fund can­cel­la­tions may be pro­longed, of­fi­cials added.

The pol­icy is non-retroac­tive, how­ever, leav­ing some buy­ers who have al­ready can­celed tick­ets to com­plain that the gov­ern­ment is too slow in its re­sponse. Ac­cord­ing to the air­lines, around 10 to 20 per­cent of pas­sen­gers have can­celed their tick­ets since MERS broke out in May.

Ac­cord­ing to the CAA, Tai­wan air­line com­pa­nies have 137 flights to South Korea ev­ery week, all of which are open for full-re­funds. How­ever, for for­eign air­lines, in­clud­ing Korean Air and Asiana Air­lines, this pol­icy will not be ac­ti­vated un­til the MOFA changes the travel warn­ing light for South Korea to “red.”

The CAA of­fi­cials said that even with Tai­wan air­line com­pa­nies, a full-re­fund pol­icy is not nor­mally ap­plied when the re­gion is still un­der a “yel­low” or “gray” light, how­ever, with MERS spread­ing quickly, the gov­ern­ment has de­cided to launch it

now as a preven­ta­tive mea­sure.

Youngest Pa­tient Re­ported

A high school stu­dent was con­firmed to have MERS yes­ter­day, ac­cord­ing to South Korean of­fi­cials. He is cur­rently the youngest pa­tient re­ported. More­over, the con­ta­gious dis­ease has been iden­ti­fied in Bu­san City, which is lo­cated on the op­po­site coast from Seoul. This ex­pan­sion has aroused an­other wave of fear and panic, not only in South Korea, but also in neigh­bor­ing coun­tries.

Tai­wan May Not Present at

Gwangju Univer­si­ade

In light of the spread­ing in­fec­tion, of­fi­cials from the Sports Ad­min­is­tra­tion ( ) said Mon­day that they are con­sid­er­ing whether or not to at­tend the up­com­ing Sum­mer Univer­si­ade in Gwangju, which is cur­rently sched­uled for July 3 to 14. A de­ci­sion will be made at the end of June at the lat­est, of­fi­cials said.

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