The quarantine period for foreigners visiting Taiwan for business would vary based on the COVID-19 situation of the nation or territory that they are coming from, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported the 13th consecutive day of no new cases.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told reporters at the center’s daily briefing that modified rules covering foreign business visitors had been completed and were ready for him to sign.
The complete details of the new rules would be released later this week, he said.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
Foreigners on long business trips would have to undergo a 14-day “home” quarantine, while those on shorter trips would be ranked as either “very low risk” and “low risk” based on the COVID-19 situation they are coming from, but those from high-risk countries would still be barred, he said.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said those from countries with “very low risks” would face a five-day home quarantine, while those from countries with “low risks” would have to complete a 10-day home quarantine.
Following the quarantine periods, business travelers would be tested for COVID-19 at their own expense, and if they test negative, would be required to perform self-health management and relay their daily conditions through a mobile app or text message during their stay, he said.
Most COVID-19 patients have reported the onset of symptoms about five to seven days after being exposed to the novel coronavirus, so conducting tests five to 10 days after quarantine would likely be effective, Chen said.
Chen said yesterday was the 38th consecutive day without a domestic case of COVID-19.
Some people have questioned whether the reports of “zero cases” are the result of too few COVID-19 tests being administered, Chen told reporters, so he wanted to clarify the situation by citing a report by Our World in Data, a project that publishes data gathered by researchers at the University of Oxford and the Global Change Data Lab.
According to the report, Taiwan’s testing capacity ranks as sixth or seventh among 91 nations, he said.
The number of COVID-19 tests per confirmed case in Taiwan is 158.3, meaning that on average one case is detected per 158.3 tests, he said.
In New Zealand, the number of COVID-19 tests per confirmed case is about 203, and about 153 tests were conducted to detect a case in Australia, Chen added.
In South Korea and Germany, countries that conducted wide-scale testing, an average of 69 tests and 18.6 tests were conducted respectively to confirm a case, showing that the number of tests done in Taiwan is not considered low, he said.
Turning to this year’s virtual World Health Assembly (WHA) held on Monday and Tuesday, Chen said that Taiwan and the US had issued statements on Tuesday voicing their disappointment over the WHO’s decision to exclude Taiwan from the annual meeting.
He read reporters excerpts from the US statement: “We must recognize Taiwan’s successful COVID-19 response and their continued efforts to assist other countries with personal protective equipment donations and technical assistance.”
“The United States strongly urges the WHO to return to the practice of inviting Taiwan to participate as an observer to the WHA... The United States also urges the WHO to systematically engage with Taiwan health experts on COVID-19 and beyond,” Chen read.
The US has never praised Taiwan as much as it did in that statement, so he wanted to thank Washington for recognizing Taiwan’s contributions, Chen said.
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