President, premier urge public to stay warm during cold spell

Taipei--President Tsai Ing-wen (???) and Premier Lin Chuan (??) on Thursday reminded the public to wrap up and stay warm as a strong cold front arrived in Taiwan, sending temperatures to new lows for the winter season around the island.

In a post on her personal Facebook page, Tsai said that central and local governments have taken a series of measures in response to the cold weather and urged the public to keep warm.

The premier called on the people to wrap up during the cold spell, in a post on his Facebook page. He also cautioned farmers and aqua farmers to take proper precautions to avoid serious damage to crops, fish and fishery products due to the cold weather.

Lin said those who live in mountainous areas should be particularly vigilant during the cold snap.

With the arrival of the cold front, lows in northern Taiwan could drop to 8-9 degrees Celsius in northern Taiwan, with 9-10 degrees in central Taiwan and 11-13 degrees in other areas from Friday to Monday, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

At a weekly Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Lin made a similar call and urged related ministries to make necessary preparations to deal with the cold weather.

He asked the Council of Agriculture to prepare for possible agricultural losses caused by the falling temperatures and instructed officials to be ready to pay subsidies to local farmers.

Meanwhile, Lin directed the Ministry of Health and Welfare to work closely with local governments to provide assistance for seniors who live alone and the homeless. Hospitals should also prepare for a possible influx of emergency patients during the cold spell, he said.

The Ministry of the Interior should prepare for possible fires caused by the misuse of heaters and carbon monoxide poisoning cases, said Lin, who called on the public to pay greater attention to home safety, to minimize the frequency of such incidents.

Physicians said the admissions of emergency patients suffering from heart and cerebrovascular ailments increased on Thursday, predicting the number would peak on Saturday.

Taipei City's Department of Health said as cold weather can increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks, those who suffer from such problems should be particularly careful to keep warm.

From Wednesday night to Thursday morning, Taipei reported a total of 97 emergency cases, with two patients in critical condition, the city's Fire Department said.

In New Taipei, 13 people who fell ill were sent to hospitals for emergency treatment, while Taoyuan reported two patients who were dead-on-arrival on Thursday, local authorities said. The cause of their deaths, however, has yet to be determined, they said.

The mercury dipped to 9.5 degrees Celsius in Tamsui, New Taipei, the lowest temperature recorded in a low-lying area of Taiwan this winter, according to data from the CWB.

Temperatures could drop to 8 degrees in the northwestern coastal town on Thursday night, the bureau forecast.

Six other weather stations -- located in Hsinchu, Taoyuan's Xinwu District, Keelung, New Taipei's Banqiao District, Taipei and Taichung's Wuqi District -- also recorded new lows for the winter period of 10.4 degrees, 10.6 degrees, 10.8 degrees, 11 degrees, 11.5 degrees and 11.5 degrees, respectively, according to the bureau.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel