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City Conducts MERS Drill

On June 4, Mayor Ko Wen-je presided over drill with a scenario based on a possible MERS-CoV outbreak at Zhongxiao Branch of Taipei City Hospital (TCH).

Expressing his satisfaction over personnel performance during the exercise, Ko pointed out that it is a sure thing for the virus to show up in Taiwan. The City should be prepared to take isolation measures upon receiving report of confirmed cases.

Ko reassured the public of the soundness of the island’s medical system and abundance in human resources. Citing his experience in tackling SARS 12 years ago as the head of NTUH Intensive Care Ward, he stressed that facing the problems is key to solving them. He instructed TCH staff to report any suspected cases immediately before the disease goes out of control.

He believes that the City is capable of containing a possible outbreak with limited number of cases. The H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009, for example, caused great fatalities in other countries; however, 8 patients survived out of 9 cases in Taiwan thanks to Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation treatment provided by NTUH.

While thanking participating staff for their preparation effort, the mayor made it a case to establish close communication ties between the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. The video recording the operational procedures during the exercise will also be shared to local hospitals and other municipalities to help the island strengthen its preparedness against the pandemic.

TCH Vice Superintendent Chu Ta-cheng added that Taipei boasts a mobile disease prevention squad in charge of tracking and managing individuals who have come into contact with confirmed patients. Taipei is also closely monitoring the development of MERS in South Korea.