Starting today, travelers who have been to South Africa or Eswatini within 14 days before entering Taiwan would be subject to centralized quarantine upon arrival, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it confirmed Taiwan’s first person infected with a new variant of COVID-19 circulating in South Africa.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that travelers arriving in Taiwan after midnight today and who have been to South Africa or Eswatini, including transit passengers, would be required to stay at a centralized quarantine facility.
They would be required to undergo two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests at the quarantine facility — when they arrive and upon completing the 14 days of quarantine — he said, adding that those who test negative would be allowed to return home for another seven days of self-health management.
Chen said that the special program adopts the same quarantine measures as the policy on travelers who have been to the UK within 14 days of entering Taiwan.
Travelers would not be charged for the tests or their stay at a centralized quarantine facility, he said, urging them to honestly report their health conditions to quarantine officers upon arrival.
He said that 38 specimens have since October last year been collected from COVID-19 patients with higher viral loads — those with PCR cycle threshold values of 27 or under — for genome sequence analysis.
Among them, five were confirmed to have been infected with a new variant first reported in the UK and one was infected with the variant circulating in South Africa, he added.
Chen said that more than 1.25 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in South Africa — about 22,014 confirmed cases per 1 million population — and an average of 17,021 new cases have been reported daily in the past two weeks, accounting for more than 70 percent of the cases reported in Africa.
The South African variant has been reported in 12 other countries and is believed to spread faster than other strains of COVID-19, he said.
Separately, Chen said that four new imported cases were confirmed in Taiwan yesterday.
One of the cases is an Indian man in his 30s who arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 18 last year and stayed in a quarantine hotel until Jan. 2, Chen said.
He practiced self-health management until Friday last week, without showing symptoms, he said.
He underwent a paid test at a hospital on Monday and the result returned positive yesterday, he added.
Chen said the three other cases are Indonesian fishermen in their 20s and 30s who arrived in Taiwan between Dec. 27 and Dec. 30, and all stayed in quarantine hotels or centralized quarantine facilities, as they did not show symptoms.
They were tested on Monday and Tuesday, and the results returned positive yesterday, he said.
NO CONNECTION: Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said the CECC has linked no deaths so far to the AstraZeneca vaccine Eleven people in the nation have died after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, but the deaths should not deter older people with chronic health conditions from getting vaccinated. Nine of the deaths — people aged 65 to 97 — took place three hours to one day after the AstraZeneca vaccine was given, the center said, while eight of the 11 deaths were people aged 75 or older, most of whom had chronic health conditions. On Wednesday, the center said that 12 more people — seven women and five men aged 42 to 97 at
HELPING HAND: Vaccine eligibility can likely be widened to cover pregnant women now that the nation has more vaccine doses than it planned for, Chen Shih-chung said Taiwan yesterday received a shipment of 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses donated by the US, obtaining its largest single batch of vaccines since the COVID-19 pandemic began early last year. A cargo plane of Taiwanese national carrier China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) carrying the Moderna Inc vaccines landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at about 4:30pm, after leaving Memphis, Tennessee, early on Saturday, US time. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) and American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen were at the airport to welcome the plane. The vaccines were transported to a cold chain logistics center, where they would be inspected
‘NO STRINGS ATTACHED’: The US is donating the shots without any political or economic conditions, and with the singular aim of saving lives, a senior US official said The US was yesterday to ship 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan, a senior US administration official told Reuters, more than tripling Washington’s previous allocation of shots for the nation. Washington, competing with Beijing to deepen geopolitical clout through so-called “vaccine diplomacy,” had initially promised to donate 750,000 doses to Taiwan, but is increasing that number as US President Joe Biden’s administration advances its pledge to send 80 million US-made shots around the world. The 2.5 million donated doses of the Moderna Inc vaccine would leave Memphis, Tennessee, on a flight belonging to Taiwan’s national carrier, China Airlines Ltd (中華航空), early
VULNERABLE: The CECC has been moving older infected people or those with underlying health conditions, who were in isolation, to hospitals for better health monitoring The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 75 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, the lowest daily count since the nationwide level 3 alert was issued last month. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the 75 local infections are 35 males and 40 females, aged from under five to over 80, and they began experiencing symptoms between June 8 and Sunday. New Taipei City reported 38 cases, followed by Taipei with 22, Taoyuan with five, Miaoli County with three, Keelung and Taichung with two each, and Kaohsiung, Yunlin County and Changhua County with one each, CECC