About 46 percent of the government’s quarantine rooms made available for returning residents were booked on the first day they were open for reservation, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported three new imported cases of COVID-19.
Tightened quarantine regulations, requiring inbound passengers to be mainly quarantined in hotels and centralized facilities, or “one person per housing unit” if in private housing, are to be implemented from Friday.
The CECC on Wednesday announced that it would make 1,500 to 2,000 centralized quarantine facility rooms available to returning Taiwan residents, as the Lunar New Year holiday nears, and on 8pm Friday launched an online application system.
This year’s Lunar New Year holiday begins on Feb. 11.
Hospital and Social Welfare Organizations Administration Commission Director Wang Pi-sheng (王必勝), who is also deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said that as of 12pm yesterday, 685 people had applied to book centralized quarantine rooms.
“We released 1,500 rooms in the first stage, so they account for about 46 percent of the capacity,” he said, adding that the booking process on the first day of applications was smooth and the center did not receive any complaints.
Photo: Screen grab from Facebook
The rooms have been reserved for people arriving between Tuesday and Jan. 26, but most bookings were for people arriving on Jan. 23 and Jan. 24, and the majority of them are Taiwanese living in China.
Local Chinese-language media reported that an online chat group for Taiwanese living in China on Thursday posted three photographs of Taiwan’s centralized quarantine facility rooms, sparking complaints that the rooms looked like “prison” cells and “the room environment is too poor for NT$2,000 per day.”
Wang yesterday posted on Facebook four photographs of different rooms from the centralized quarantine facilities, saying that the styles of the rooms are diverse.
Photo: Screen grab from Facebook
However, the purpose of the rooms is to provide a person with a safe, clean environment with their own bathroom, while ensuring strict infection control measures and health monitoring, he said.
About 90 to 95 percent of the people who have stayed at the centralized quarantine facilities were satisfied with their stay, he added.
Separately, Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, said one of the new imported cases yesterday is an Indonesian fisher in his 30s.
The man arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 23 without symptoms, but the results of a self-paid test he took on Thursday came back positive yesterday.
The other two cases are migrant workers from the Philippines — a woman in her 20s who arrived on Dec. 13 and a man in his 30s who arrived on Dec. 18, Chuang said, adding that they had no symptoms and had tested negative upon ending centralized quarantine on Dec. 27 and Wednesday last week respectively.
The two stayed in single rooms for the additional seven-day self-health management period, and they were tested on Thursday and Friday, the results of which came back positive yesterday, Chuang said.
A total of 828 confirmed cases have been reported in Taiwan, and 101 of those infected remain in hospitals, he said.
MEDIGEN: The vaccine must also be reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices before it is added to the national vaccination program An emergency use authorization (EUA) for Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s (高端疫苗) COVID-19 vaccine — MVC-COV1901 — for people aged 20 and older was issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said a specialists’ meeting was held at the FDA on Sunday to review Medigen’s application to manufacture and distribute its COVID-19 vaccine, and the panel approved it. FDA Director Wu Hsiu-mei (吳秀梅) said the meeting consisted of 21 specialists from the fields of chemistry, manufacturing and controls, pharmacy, toxicology, clinical medicine, public health, law and medical ethics. There were no major concerns over
LAND ALERT UNCERTAIN: The CWB was waiting to observe how In-Fa shifts as it moves north to determine when to issue a land alert, a forecaster at the bureau said Residents of northern Taiwan should brace for heavy rain today and tomorrow as Typhoon In-Fa approaches the northeast, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday. A land alert for the typhoon would be issued depending on the angle at which it moves north today, the bureau said. The bureau on Wednesday issued a sea alert for the typhoon, which applies to ships operating off the nation’s northern, northeastern and southeastern coasts. As of 8:30pm yesterday, In-Fa’s center was 470km southeast of Taipei, moving northwest at 6kph. It was carrying maximum sustained winds of 180kph, and had a radius of 200km. The typhoon was moving
‘BREAKTHROUGH’: All countries should be free to pursue closer ties with Taiwan, a leading democracy, a major economy, and a force for good in the world, the AIT said Taiwan is to establish a “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania,” the first office in Europe to be called Taiwanese, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday. “It is an important diplomatic breakthrough,” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) wrote on Facebook, thanking diplomatic personnel for the significant achievement. To expand the nation’s relations with central and eastern Europe, especially with Baltic nations, the government decided to establish the office in Vilnius, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told an online news conference. The plan signals progress in Taiwan-Europe relations, as it has been 18 years since the nation last opened an office on the
TARGET RAISED: The CECC said vaccination coverage has reached 24.35%, while Premier Su Tseng-chang said the government hopes for 30% by the end of July The government has signed a contract to buy an additional 36 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, 1 million of which are to be delivered in the fourth quarter, the Executive Yuan announced yesterday, as it updated its vaccination target to 30 percent coverage by the end of the month. The two-year deal with the US company covers “prime series” vaccines and future booster shots to protect against SARS-CoV-2 variants, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) quoted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as saying during an Executive Yuan meeting in Taipei. In the two weeks since vaccine registration opened, more than 9.8