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Airlines told not to refuse fevered fliers

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Airlines have been advised not to prevent Taiwanese citizens or travelers from China who show signs of fever from boarding flights in China, the Central Epidemic Command Center for H7N9 influenza announced yesterday.

Chang Feng-yih (張峰義), director-general of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suggested airlines sterilize their aircraft frequently.

The Department of Health (DOH) also said yesterday that, after investigating 14 possible cases, no incidents of H7N9 have been found in Taiwan.

Yang Bo-wen (楊博文), of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), said that the ministry has already notified airlines to use disinfectant on aircraft that fly between China and Taiwan.

“The MOTC also suggested airlines avoid using poultry products from China in the meals served onboard,” said Yang.

Chang said that unless people planning to visit China will be in areas with confirmed cases of H7N9, or may come into contact with infected patients or birds, there is no need to take Tamiflu — an antiviral drug — in advance.

One Suspicious Case Ruled Out

CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Chih-hau (周志浩) said yesterday that one Taiwanese man with a fever was found to be infected with H3N2 influenza and not the H7N9 strain.

Chou said that the 27-year-old man spent four days in Jiangsu province, one of the areas from which H7N9 cases have been reported, and arrived back in Taiwan via the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday morning.

“So far all the reported suspicious cases have come from hospitals and airports,” Chou said, “and if travelers coming from Jiangsu, Anhui, Shanghai and Zhejiang display signs of fever, they are required to be transferred to hospitals for further quarantine.”

The CDC said it has confirmed with mainland authorities that 16 H7N9 cases have been reported in China, with six fatalities among them, Chou said.

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EVA Airways employees sterilize flight cabins at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, yesterday. The government has advised airlines against refusing to carry passengers from China showing signs of fever. (CNA)

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