Dengue ends Tainan boy­cott feud

Out­break in Tainan kills four; Taipei City records first case


Tainan City Mayor Wil­liam Lai’s ( ) eight-month boy­cott against Tainan City Coun­cil Speaker Lee Chuan-chiao (

), cen­tered around vote-buy­ing al­le­ga­tions, came to an end yesterday due to a dengue fever out­break.

Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of his at­ten­dance, the mayor led high- rank­ing gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials into the city coun­cil for the sec­ond time in a se­ries of meet­ings this year to give a pol­icy re­port.

Yet, Lai’s at­ten­dance also came with ver­bal spats be­tween the Kuom­intang (KMT) and Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party (DPP) coun­cil mem­bers, as many of the KMT and in­de­pen­dent coun­cilors are dis­mayed at the han­dling of the dengue fever out­break that has killed four as of press time.

Apart from de­mand­ing an ex­pla­na­tion and apol­ogy to Tainan cit­i­zens from Lai over the han­dling of the out­break, Coun­cil Speaker Lee also spoke in sup­port of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to deal with the prob­lem, should the gov­ern­ment put for­ward any re­lated bud­get pro­pos­als.

As of press time, dengue fever cases to­taled at 2,574 in Tainan City alone, the largest out­break in Tai­wan, fol­lowed by Kaoh­si­ung City with 427 cases.

Taipei City re­ported its first case yesterday: a 62-year-old­man who had trav­eled to Tainan City ear­lier this month. Out of the 37 ac­cu­mu­lated cases in New Taipei City, five re­port­edly vis­ited Tainan.

The Tainan City Health Depart­ment and lo­cal doc­tors called for pa­tients with re­lated symp­toms or who have been di­ag­nosed with fever not to travel. Nec­es­sary mea­sures to con­trol the out­break have been car­ried out as well, with Tainan City Deputy Mayor Yen Chun-tso (

) en­cour­ag­ing lo­cal cit­i­zens to proac­tively clean up their sur­round­ings to pre­vent mosquitoes from breed­ing and fur­ther spread­ing the dis­ease.

Lai was im­peached by the Con­trol Yuan on Aug. 4 for fail­ing to at­tend city coun­cil meet­ings. The Com­mis­sion on Dis­ci­plinary Sanc­tions of Func­tionar­ies’ ( CDSF, ) also asked for an ex­pla­na­tion from Lai.

In a state­ment posted on his Face­book page, Lai said his protest and bat­tling against vote-buy­ing or “black gold oper­a­tions,” has “achieved ini­tial re­sults.”

DPP pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Tsai Ing-wen ( ), he said, has in­cluded com­bat­ing “black gold” in her pol­icy plat­form as well.

“The hottest places in hell are re­served for those who in time of moral cri­sis pre­serve their neutrality,” Lai wrote in his state­ment, a quo­ta­tion based upon an in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Ital­ian poet

Dante’s “Inferno.”

Deputy Mayor Should

Step Down: KMT

The city coun­cil’s KMT party cau­cus also asked the Tainan City mayor to apol­o­gize for the dengue fever out­break that spi­raled out of con­trol, and to dis­miss Yen for his un­ac­cept­able re­marks re­gard­ing the out­break. KMT cau­cus mem­bers also en­cour­aged the CDSF to rule on nec­es­sary pun­ish­ments for Lai’s fail­ure to at­tend city coun­cil meet­ings.

Yen, in re­sponse to media in­ter­views, stated that com­pared to the 160,000 deaths na­tion- wide ev­ery year, there “is only a 1/8000 chance of death,” re­fer­ring to the 20 deaths caused by dengue fever in Kaoh­si­ung last year. “Peo­ple should not be too alarmed,” Yen said on Wed­nes­day, and called out the media for sen­sa­tion­al­iz­ing the out­break.

The DPP party cau­cus re­spond- ed to the rul­ing party’s cau­cus, re­mind­ing them not to con­tinue to pull po­lit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions. “We haven’t seen the KMT party cau­cus ask the cen­tral gov­ern­ment to pro­vide as­sis­tance in con­trol­ling Tainan City’s dengue fever out­break,” DPP cau­cus whip Tsai Chi-chang ( ) said.


(Above) Tainan City Coun­cilor Kuo Kuo-wen ( ), of the Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party, left, ar­gues with Tainan City Coun­cilor Hsieh Lung-chieh ( ), of the Kuom­intang, back right, yesterday. Kuo ex­pressed his dis­may at Tainan City Coun­cil Speaker Lee Chuan-chiao ( ), who did not at­tempt to stop Hsieh’s de­fam­ing of Tainan City Mayor Wil­liam Lai ( ). (Right) Tainan City Mayor Wil­liam Lai ( ) ap­pears at the Tainan City Coun­cil for the first time in al­most nine months to con­duct a pol­icy re­port, yesterday. In re­sponse to his de­ci­sion to en­ter the coun­cil cham­bers, Lai stated that his protests and re­forms have borne pos­i­tive re­sults. The mayor’s protests were tied with his al­le­ga­tions of Tainan City Coun­cil Speaker Lee Chuan-chiao’s ( ) in­volve­ment in vote buy­ing.

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