Taiwan has barred children aged under five from going to public play areas in a bid to contain the spread of a highly contagious virus that has killed seven so far this year, officials said Sunday.
Playgrounds at fast food outlets and hospitals in northern Taipei county were shut down from Saturday, as officials raced to sterilise hundreds of kindergartens and elementary schools.
The highly contagious enterovirus 71, or EV71, can lead to acute hand, foot and mouth disease, which is most dangerous to the young. Dozens of children have died of the illness in mainland China this year.
In Taiwan, the latest victim was an 11-month-old baby from southern Chiayi county who died on Friday, just four days after he was found to have contracted the virus, health officials said.
A total of 192 children in Taiwan have developed severe symptoms after contracting the virus this year, according to official data.