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Four Singaporean tourists have fallen seriously ill after inhaling poisonous carbon monoxide in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. They were rushed to a hospital for tests on Sunday to ascertain the carbon monoxide content in their blood.

The local media reported that the incident happened around 1 am after the tourists showered in an apartment with the windows shut due to the cold. However, when the firefighters arrived they found the windows already opened.

The authorities believe that the source of the gas could be a water heater that was installed in the apartment, which is near the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. The apartment belongs to a friend of the Singaporeans.

According to reports, the concentration of the carbon monoxide that was detected in the apartment was about 40 ppm. The experts said it was slightly higher than the level harmful to health, or 35 ppm.

After arriving at the scene, the rescue teams took the men outside the apartment and gave oxygen treatment. The tourists complained about dizziness but they did not have any other sort of discomfort.

According to World Health Organisation guidelines, a person should not be exposed to average carbon monoxide levels of 52ppm for more than 30 minutes. The Taiwanese media said five Hong Kong tourists were also taken to hospital in Taipei after falling ill with carbon monoxide poisoning in a similar incident on Sunday.