CORONAVIRUS/Free COVID-19 PCR tests now available in Taipei by online appointment
Taipei, July 5 (CNA) People can make an online appointment at seven municipal hospitals starting July 7 to get a free COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Monday.
The online appointments can be made at the Heping, Zhongxing, Renai, Yangming and Zhongxiao branches of Taipei City Hospital as well as with Taipei Municipal Gan-Dau Hospital and Taipei Municipal Wan Fang Hospital, Ko said at a daily COVID-19 briefing.
Ko said on June 16 he hoped to bring the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taipei down to zero within a month, and after recent outbreaks at wholesale fruit and vegetable markets in Taipei, he felt the only way to achieve that was through widespread testing.
Taipei has several stations offering rapid tests to city residents, but the PCR tests are more precise, and by offering the expensive tests for free, Ko is hoping more people will take the initiative to get tested.
The measure is primarily aimed at people who are asymptomatic, those who have come into contact with confirmed patients, and those who have returned from abroad, Ko said, but the free service is open to anybody, not just Taipei residents.
Having people make appointments for the test online will help control flows of people in hospitals and ensure that the numbers of people who go to get tested will not overtax each facility's capacity, he said.
Since the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan that erupted in mid-May, Taipei and neighboring New Taipei have had the highest numbers of confirmed cases.
As of Monday, Taipei had confirmed a total of 4,606 COVID-19 cases, trailing only New Taipei's 6,588 cases, according to Central Epidemic Command Center statistics.
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