CORONAVIRUS/Discharged inpatients from Taoyuan General Hospital to be quarantined
Taipei, Jan. 24 (CNA) Inpatients who were discharged from a hospital in Taoyuan that has seen 15 domestic COVID-19 cases to date, as well as their close contacts, will have to be quarantined until the 14th day after they were released from the hospital, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Sunday.
The new measure is being taken to prevent a potential community spread of the disease, the center said.
At an emergency press conference Sunday evening, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said that the new quarantine requirements apply to inpatients who were discharged from Taoyuan General Hospital between Jan. 6-19.
People who looked after the inpatients at the hospital, such as caregivers or relatives, as well as those who live with either the inpatients or their carers, will also have to be quarantined, Chen said.
They will be tested at the end of the quarantine period and required to follow self-health management protocols for seven days afterward, Chen said.
For some patients in this group, such as those who were discharged on Jan. 6, 14 days have already elapsed after they have been discharged. These patients will only have to follow self-health management protocols and receive a COVID-19 test, according to the CECC.
Besides discharged inpatients and their contacts, the CECC's expanded quarantine plan also includes those who were in contact with a COVID-19 case confirmed earlier Sunday.
The case involves a man in his 60s who visited numerous doctors before testing positive for COVID-19. All those who were in contact with him at various medical facilities will have to be quarantined for 14 days, Chen said.
They will be tested for COVID-19 once they have completed their quarantine and will be required to follow self-health management protocols for seven days afterwards, Chen said.
The CECC expects that 5,000 people will have to go into quarantine as a result of the new measures, he added.
According to Chen, health authorities have already begun to contact people who fall under these criteria. Those who have not yet been contacted should stay at home and wait for the health authorities to notify them, or call the 1922 hotline directly.
In addition to those required to quarantine, all staff members and patients who had been to the hospital since Jan. 6 will be instructed to follow self-health management protocols, Chen said.
The new measures were announced the same day as Taiwan recorded two new COVID-19 cases in the hospital cluster. The CECC said it was not yet known how the two patients picked up the infection.
Prior to these measures, only confirmed contacts of COVID-19 cases at the hospital were required to be quarantined.
To date, there have been 15 reported cases of COVID-19 linked to the hospital, including two doctors, four nurses, one migrant caregiver, three family members of two of the nurses, and two hospital patients and their three family members.
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