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.
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