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Seamen fled the ship in attempt to return home. New trend? VIDEO

Maritime Bulletin
Date: April 5, 2020
By: Mikhail Voytenko

Police intercepted two seamen attempting to flee their ship at Keelung Port, Taiwan, on Apr 4. They’ve been returned to the ship, donned in masks and plastic bags or coats. Both runaways of Myanmar nationality wanted to return home, to Myanmar. Seems like a naïve act, but what do we know? Undoubtedly, a lot of dramas and even tragedies, are currently taken place on board of thousands of merchant ships around the world, because of insane virus fight policies. The number of such personal dramas will forever remain unknown, as well as the outcome, except in some cases after they turn into accidents or tragedies. Just imagine a young seaman whose shore leave is long overdue, and who suddenly, lost contact with girlfriend. Or a family man losing his mind out of anxiety, when his family goes off the line for a day or two. Or a young man deprived of woman’ company for months. Situation is becoming almost unbearable if taking into account absolute lack of anything decisive, any timeline or realistic perspective to be relieved anytime soon.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan’s coronavirus response is among the best globally

Date: April 5, 2020
By: James Griffiths, CNN

Soldiers from the militarys chemical units take part in a drill organised by the New Taipei City government to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Xindian district on March 14, 2020. – Over 450 medical staff, community volunteers, government employees and military personnel took part in the drill. Despite being so close to the original outbreak in mainland China, Taiwan has just 48 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 disease with one death. (Photo by Sam Yeh / AFP) (Photo by SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

Hong Kong (CNN)On January 25, as the world was still waking up to the potential danger of the novel coronavirus spreading rapidly out of central China, two governments recorded four new infections within their territory.

Australia and Taiwan have similar sized populations of about 24 million people, both are islands, allowing strict controls over who crosses their borders, and both have strong trade and transport links with mainland China. Ten weeks on from that date, however, Australia has almost 5,000 confirmed cases, while Taiwan has less than 400.

The question is not what Australia did wrong — 20 countries have more cases than Australia, and seven have more than 10 times as many — but how Taiwan has kept the virus under control when other parts of the world have not.

Hard learned lessons

During the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003, Taiwan was among the worst-hit territories, along with Hong Kong and southern China. More than 150,000 people were quarantined on the island — 180 kilometers (110 miles) off China's southeastern coast — and 181 people died.

While SARS now pales in comparison to the current crisis, it sent shockwaves through much of Asia and cast a long shadow over how people responded to future outbreaks. This helped many parts of the region react faster to the current coronavirus outbreak and take the danger more seriously than in other parts of the world, both at a governmental and societal level, with border controls and the wearing of face masks quickly becoming routine as early as January in many areas.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan Tourism Bureau head demoted amid COVID-19 controversy

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/04/05
By:  Central News Agency

Chou Yung-hui (CNA photo)

Chou Yung-hui (周永暉), director-general of the Tourism Bureau, has been demoted amid a controversy involving a high-ranking bureau official, whose misconduct led to one of his colleagues becoming infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus disease.

Chou will now serve as a counselor at the Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MOTC), MOTC Minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) told reporters Sunday.

The controversy involves a high-ranking official at the Tourism Bureau, who asked a staffer working at a Taoyuan International Airport visitor information center to meet and accompany his son, who was returning from the Philippines, while the son was waiting to be picked up by the official, according to the bureau.

The official's son, who is in his 20s, was later confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, which he likely passed on to the staffer while they had coffee together at the airport, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).    [FULL  STORY]

Barbra Streisand praises Taiwan for coronavirus control

Focus Taiwan
Date: 04/05/2020
By: Emerson Lim

Barbra Streisand (left, photo taken from and President Tsai Ing-wen (CNA file photo)

Taipei, April 5 (CNA) American singer and actress Barbra Streisand on Sunday praised Taiwan's performance in controlling the spread of the new coronavirus outbreak despite the island's geographical proximity to China, where the virus was first detected last year.

In a Twitter post, Streisand said "Taiwan, despite being just 100 miles from mainland China with regular flights to and from Wuhan, has successfully staved off the worst of the coronavirus pandemic."

"The country has so far seen five deaths and just under 350 confirmed cases, and most schools and businesses remain open," she tweeted.

However, as of Sunday afternoon, confirmed new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases had increased to 363, with the number of fatalities remaining at 5.    [FULL  STORY]

Virus Outbreak: Disinfection teams sweep across the nation

Taipei Times
Date: Apr 06, 2020
By: Yang Mien-chieh, Chen Hsin-yu and Dennis Xie / Staff reporters, with staff writer

Photo copied by Chen Hsien-yi, Taipei Times

Popular tourist spots and transportation hubs nationwide were disinfected yesterday to prevent a spike of COVID-19 cases following the Tomb Sweeping Day long weekend, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said.

Environmental protection departments in cities and counties dispatched special squads, made up of 731 employees, who disinfected 863 locations, including 205 transportation hubs and 250 business areas, the EPA said.

These included popular tourist spots that the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) had cited in its text messages on Saturday, when it reminded the public to avoid crowded places and keep a proper social distance, including Kenting (墾丁) and Hengchun Old Street (恆春老街) in Pingtung County, Dongdamen Night Market (東大門夜市) in Hualien County and Guanzihling (關子嶺) in Tainan, it said.

The EPA reminded business owners that they should be following its disinfection guidelines and clean their indoor areas at least once per day, or more if their businesses get a lot of foot traffic.

Virus Outbreak: CECC messages warn against crowding

TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing

Taipei Times
Date:  Apr 05, 2020
By: Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

People boil food at a hot spring at the Qingshui Geothermal Park in Yilan County’s Datong Township yesterday.
Photo: Chang Yi-chen, Taipei Times

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas.

The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection.

“When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill and call 1922 for inquiries,” the first message read.

The second message read: “Please avoid going to scenic areas near Kenting (墾丁). Practice social distancing of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, or wear a mask. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill and tell the doctor your travel history. Call 1922 for inquiries.”    [FULL  STORY]

COVID-19: Taiwan reports seven new cases, total reaches 355

Radio Taiwan Internatinal
Date:\ 04 April, 2020
By: John Van Trieste

With the addition of seven new cases on Saturday, Taiwan has so far recorded 355 cases of COVID-19.

With the addition of seven new cases on Saturday, Taiwan has so far recorded 355 cases of COVID-19.

Taiwan reported seven new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday afternoon. The addition of these cases brings the total Taiwan has recorded so far up to 355

Six of the new cases are imported, brought in by people with a recent history of travel to Switzerland, the US, Germany, the UK, and countries in South America.    [FULL  STORY]

Why a China vs. Taiwan Clash Could Be Brewing

We should ask now what America's policy should be if things were to take a nasty turn. 

The National Interest
Date: April 4, 2020
By: Ted Galen Carpenter

Tensions between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have been on the rise ever since Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan’s president and her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gained control of the legislature in early 2016. Her landslide re-election in January 2020 exacerbated those tensions. Now, Taiwanese concerns about the island’s treatment at the hands of the PRC and the rest of the global community during the coronavirus pandemic are widening the political gap between Taipei and Beijing.

Taiwanese anger at the PRC’s conduct occurred early and often in the crisis. Chinese leaders worked to block Taiwan’s involvement in World Health Organization (WHO) cooperative efforts to stem the spread of the virus. Beijing even sought to prevent Taiwanese attendance at WHO meetings. PRC demands intimidated the WHO into barring Taiwanese experts from at least one crucial strategy session in late January 2020.

Beijing’s propaganda apparatus also generated fake news that the virus was out of control in Taiwan, with deaths overwhelming crematoria. Taiwan Fact-Check Center effectively debunked the claims, and international observers found no evidence to support them. In fact, Taiwan’s efforts to contain the outbreak have been remarkably successful. 

Anger among Taiwan’s leaders and the general public rose sharply in response to the PRC’s hostile behavior. On at least two occasions in January 2020, Tsai’s government reached out to Beijing, offering to help mainland efforts against the virus. Mainland officials not only spurned those offers, they treated the island as irrelevant, at best, to global cooperation against the emerging pandemic.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan police breathalyze 5-year-old for crashing bicycle into Tesla

After the incident, police said their officers should be flexible in such situations

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/04/04
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

​The owner of the car posted a picture online of the boy taking a breathalyzer test  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Police came under fire Saturday (April 4) for breathalyzing a five-year-old boy after he accidentally crashed his bicycle into a stationary car.

The owner of the car, a white Tesla Model 3 he had owned for just one month, posted a picture of the alcohol test online. After drawing criticism for the photo, he said he wanted to show how responsible the little boy was — as he didn't run away but also agreed to take the breathalyzer test, the Liberty Times reported.    [FULL  STORY]

CECC issues national-level alerts to tourist spots amid long break

Focus Taiwan
Date:\ 04/04/2020
By: Chang Ming-hsuan, Wu Hsin-yun and Emerson Lim

Taipei, April 4 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday issued national-level alerts to major tourist spots in Taiwan amid a 4-day Tomb Sweeping Day break, after many vacationers were seen not observing proper coronavirus prevention guidelines.

In a press release, the CECC said two text messages were sent through the Public Warning System (PWS) at 11:55 a.m., reminding vacationers to avoid crowded places and keep a proper distance from each other.

The two messages were rated as "national-level" alerts, which indicates the public in a wide range of areas faces an immediate threat from disaster or danger.

"When visiting crowded places during the long break, remember to keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters when indoors and 1 meter when outdoors, or wear a face mask and wash your hands frequently," one of the texts read.    [FULL  STORY]