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5 people remain in critical condition due to food poisoning in Taipei

03/28/2024 10:13 PM
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Deputy Health Minister Victor Wang (right) update the latest finding in the food poisoning case at a news conference in Taipei Thursday evening. CNA photo March 28, 2024
Deputy Health Minister Victor Wang (right) update the latest finding in the food poisoning case at a news conference in Taipei Thursday evening. CNA photo March 28, 2024

(The story was last updated on Thursday at 10:28 pm to include the latest statement from the Taipei Department of Health, retracting the allegation that Polam Kopitiam had violated the order to close all its branches.)

Taipei, March 28 (CNA) Five of the many diners who became sick after eating at a Taipei restaurant recently are still in critical condition, while the number of reported illnesses continues to rise, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) reported Thursday.

As of 5:00 p.m. on Thursady, 18 people had sought medical attention in the greater Taipei area after eating at a restaurant in Taipei's Xinyi District, a branch of the Malaysian restaurant chain Polam Kopitiam, according to the ministry.

Most of the patients said they had eaten kway teow - a Malaysian stir-fried rice noodle dish that contains egg -- at the restaurant in Xinyi between March 19 and 23, the ministry reported.

Six of the 18 were still in hospital, five of them in critical condition, while 10 patients had been discharged, the MOHW said. The other two died on March 24 and 27, respectively.

Meanwhile, Taipei Department of Health Commissioner Chen Yen-yuan (陳彥元) told reporters at a press conference on Thursday that Polam International Co., Ltd., the company that runs the Malaysian restaurant chain in Taipei, had intentionally failed to close one of its branches after it had been ordered to close them all.

Taipei Department of Legal Affairs Lien Tang-kai shows the expired policies of the restaurant chain that covers customer compensation. CNa photo March 28, 2024
Taipei Department of Legal Affairs Lien Tang-kai shows the expired policies of the restaurant chain that covers customer compensation. CNa photo March 28, 2024

On Wednesday, the Taipei City government had ordered the closure of all Polam Kopitiam restaurants with immediate effect, but investigators later found that one of the branches was still open for business as of Wednesday evening, Chen said.

That branch was ordered on Thursday to close immediately, and the company may receive penalties, he said.

However, later Thursday, the department retracted that allegation, saying in a statement that Polam Kopitiam in fact had not violated the order to close all branches and had not opened the outlet in question on Wednesday or Thursday.

Chen has also advised that anyone who dined at the Xinyi restaurant after March 17 should seek medical attention if they develop symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal discomfort.

At the press conference, head of the Taipei Department of Legal Affairs Lien Tang-kai (連堂凱) said 91 transactions were recorded at the Xinyi restaurant from March 17 to 25, but the details have not yet been released by the city's health department.

The department has instructed all medical institutions in Taipei to promptly report any cases presenting with symptoms such as septic shock and liver failure, which are common among individuals suffering from this food poisoning outbreak, and to check whether they are connected to the Polam Kopitiam incident, according to Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安).

(By Sunny Lai)

Enditem/pc

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