CORONAVIRUS/Arrivals from Philippines to be collectively quarantined

08/09/2020 05:13 PM
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Health Minister Chen Shih-chung/ CNA photo Aug. 9, 2020
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung/ CNA photo Aug. 9, 2020

Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) All travelers arriving from the Philippines will be quarantined at official quarantine locations starting Wednesday, due to the rising number of imported COVID-19 cases from the country, including a new case on Sunday, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The new regulation will apply to Taiwanese citizens, resident permit holders, migrant workers, international students, and diplomatic officials, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who also heads the CECC, at a press briefing in Taipei Sunday.

The mandatory quarantine period is 14 days and will incur a fee of NT$1,500 (US$51) per day, although the government has undertaken to cover the cost for Taiwanese citizens and resident permit holders, the CECC said in a statement.

Since July 26th, all arrivals from the Philippines have been subject to mandatory testing.

The new arrangement is being introduced because five percent of all arrivals from the country tested positive for the novel coronavirus between July 26 and Aug. 8, compared with 0.03 percent for those coming from other parts of the world, Chen said.

A total of 14 people out of 278 arrivals from the Philippines tested positive from July 26 and Aug. 8, while only six out of 19,481 arrivals from other parts of the world were positive in the same period, according to CECC data.

"All arrivals from the Philippines must comply with collective quarantine, because we have found a higher positive rate and the country has seen close to 3,500 new cases per day for the last two weeks," Chen said.

"This is a relatively high number," Chen added.

Meanwhile, the new case reported Sunday was a woman in her 20s who arrived in Taiwan on Friday from the Philippines after traveling to the country Jan. 20, Chen said.

Despite developing symptoms on July 30, the woman did not seek medical attention while in the Philippines, the CECC said.

Her symptoms subsided Friday, and she wore a mask and an isolation gown during the flight to Taiwan, the CECC said.

She notified airport health officials of the symptoms on arrival and was tested, with the results coming back positive Sunday, the CECC said.

The woman is now being treated in an isolation room in a local hospital, the CECC said.

Seven people who sat near the woman on the flight have been instructed to self-isolate, while 11 cabin crew members are required to practice self-health management, which means wearing a mask at all times and taking their temperature twice a day.

The new case brought the total number in Taiwan to 480, with 388 classified as imported.

To date, 443 COVID-19 patients in Taiwan have recovered and seven have died, while the others are in hospital, the CECC said.

Globally, COVID-19 has infected 19,607,698 people in 187 countries and regions, with a total of 726,926 fatalities, according to the CECC statistics as of Sunday.

(By William Yen)

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