《TAIPEI TIMES》 Nine people at Taiwan’s office in the US test positive
Taiwan Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim makes a congratulatory telephone call to US president-elect Joe Biden’s foreign policy adviser Antony Blinken at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington on Nov. 13. Photo courtesy of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office
CLOSURE: The office said that an urgent response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to lower transmission risk meant its consular lobby would be closed until further notice
/ Staff writer, with CNA and AP
Nine personnel at Taiwan’s representative office in the US have tested positive for COVID-19, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office
（TECRO） in the US had reported two COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.
Taiwan Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim （蕭美琴） wrote on Facebook that she had tested negative yesterday.
As she has come into contact with people confirmed to have the disease, she is self-isolating at home, the ministry said.
TECRO had previously been disinfected and would be again after the weekend, Hsiao said.
Taiwan’s representative offices in Belgium, France, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey have previously confirmed COVID-19 cases among staff, as has the nation’s embassy in Honduras.
In a message on its Web site, the TECRO said that its consular lobby would be closed until further notice.
“In an urgent response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to lower the risk of transmission during gatherings, TECRO is conducting the following measures: Office Hours: The consular lobby will temporarily close from Friday, November 27th, 2020 until further notice,” it said.
“Applications: TECRO will only accept mail-in applications. Please contact the consular office by phone or e-mail during office hours before applying by mail; our staff will be happy to assist you and make sure all the required documents are included,” it said.
Meanwhile, millions of people took to the skies and the highways in the US ahead of Thanksgiving Day yesterday, disregarding warnings that they stay home and limit their holiday gatherings to members of their own household amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the number traveling by air over the past several days was down dramatically from the same period last year, many pressed ahead with their holiday plans.
Some were tired of more than eight months of social distancing and determined to spend time with loved ones.
“I think with the holidays and everything, it’s so important right now, especially because people are so bummed out because of the whole pandemic,” said 25-year-old Cassidy Zerkle of Phoenix, Arizona, who flew to Kansas City, Missouri, to visit family during what is traditionally one of the busiest travel periods of the year in the US.
“As long as you’re maintaining your distance, you’re not touching stuff and you’re sanitizing your hands, people should see their families right now,” Zerkle said.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked people not to travel.
“That’ll make sure that your extended family are around to celebrate Christmas and to celebrate the holidays next year,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said.