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CORONAVIRUS/Free COVID tests to be offered at Kaohsiung Airport, Kinmen wharf: CDC

01/16/2024 04:49 PM
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CNA photo Jan. 16, 2024
CNA photo Jan. 16, 2024

Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) Free packs of COVID-19 rapid tests will be offered to travelers at Kaohsiung International Airport and Kinmen's "mini-three links" wharf from Wednesday through late February, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The four or five-test packs, currently available to travelers at Taoyuan International Airport, will be offered at Kaohsiung Airport from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily and at Kinmen's Shuitou Wharf from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily, the CDC said in a statement.

The CDC said the offer of free rapid tests was intended to coincide with the busy travel season around the Lunar New Year, as well as a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

According to CDC data, Taiwan reported 538 severe COVID-19 infections for the week of Jan. 9-Jan. 15, up 4.5 percent from the 515 cases reported the week before.

Taiwan also reported 55 COVID-19-related deaths over the past week, up from 48 the previous week, the CDC said.

The health agency urged members of the public, and particularly seniors, to get Moderna's updated COVID-19 vaccine against the Omicron XBB subvariant, which has been available since Sept. 26.

Since that time, 99 percent of serious infections and COVID-19-related deaths in Taiwan involved people who had not received an XBB vaccine shot, the CDC said.

Over the past week, people aged 65 and above have also accounted for 79 percent of all serious infections and 90 percent of COVID-19 deaths, according to the agency.

The mini-three links refers to direct trade, postal and transportation services launched on Jan. 1, 2001 between Kinmen and Matsu in the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Xiamen, Mawei, and Quanzhou in China's Fujian Province.

(By Chen Chieh-ling and Matthew Mazzetta)

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