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Vice premier to host dengue fever control meeting in Kaohsiung

2019/06/18 19:43:29

Aedes aegypti (photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control)

Taipei, June 18 (CNA) Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) will host an inter-ministerial meeting in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, on Wednesday to discuss strategies to control and prevent the spread of dengue fever, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

This year there have been 20 confirmed cases of indigenous dengue fever in Taiwan, all in Kaohsiung with 18 categorized as a cluster outbreak, as shown by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data released Tuesday.

The data also notes that as of Tuesday, 171 imported cases of dengue fever infection have been confirmed across Taiwan, the highest in nearly 10 years.

In light of the urgent need to stop the epidemic from spreading further, Premier Su Cheng-chang (蘇貞昌) has named the vice premier, a physician-turned politician, to lead an epidemic control task force.

Together with officials from the ministries of health, environmental protection and national defense, the special task force has decided to hold a meeting in Kaohsiung on Wednesday and invite city officials to attend.

The meeting is set to discuss the resources the city has been seeking from the central government to combat dengue fever, said government sources familiar with the matter.

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), a popular presidential hopeful from the opposition Kuomintang, has asked the Executive Yuan to allocate NT$53 million (US$1.68 million) in funds to the city to help boost dengue fever controls.

However, the Democratic Progressive Party-run government had shown reluctance in meeting the request until Han traveled north to Taipei over the past few days to ask for the money in person.

On Tuesday Cabinet spokesperson Kolas Yotaka said an official application for financial assistance was delivered to the CDC last Friday. The request will be met as soon as the document is addressed, she noted.

(By Ku Chuan and Elizabeth Hsu)