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
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.