The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday raised its travel notice for 19 Asian nations, one Eastern European country and three US states to a level 3 “warning,” saying that travelers from those countries would be quarantined at home for 14 days upon arriving in Taiwan.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that most of the recently confirmed cases in Taiwan were all Taiwanese who contracted COVID-19 abroad.
“Responding to the escalating global COVID-19 situation, we are raising the travel notice to a level 3 ‘warning’ — avoid unnecessary travel — for 20 nations and three US states,” he said.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
They are: Japan, Singapore, North Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, East Timor, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives and Moldova, as well as Washington, New York and California in the US, Chen said.
He said that although the travel notice takes effect tomorrow, the quarantine measures would begin immediately.
“Travelers from these countries who have boarded their planes by now [4pm yesterday] would be asked to observe 14 days of self-health management after arriving in Taiwan; those who have not boarded their planes would face a 14-day mandatory home quarantine upon arrival,” he said.
Visa-waiver programs would be suspended for countries or areas that have been issued a level 3 travel notice, Chen said, adding that foreign nationals from those places who need to travel to Taiwan must apply for a visa at the nation’s representative offices.
They would also be quarantined for 14 days upon arriving in Taiwan, he added.
As a level 3 travel notice was issued for Italy earlier this month, followed by 27 European countries on Saturday and 14 Eastern European countries on Monday and yesterday, Chen said the center is tracing people who had recently traveled to Europe and sought medical help for respiratory symptoms or pneumonia after returning home.
Of those who returned from Europe between March 3 and Saturday, 513 people sought treatment for respiratory symptoms and 136 have been tested for COVID-19 — three of whom tested positive — while 426 people would be instructed to undergo testing, he said.
People who returned from Europe during the period should perform self-health management for 14 days, the CECC said, urging students who fit the criteria to avoid school and working people to stay at home.
The next two weeks is a critical observation period and the center expects the number of confirmed cases to increase, Chen said.
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