Taiwan yesterday reported its first confirmed case of a new type of coronavirus — a 55-year-old Taiwanese woman who arrived on Monday from China.
The woman, who works in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus was first discovered, reported to quarantine officials at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport that she had a fever, the epidemic response command center said.
The center was established on Monday to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times
The woman was immediately placed in quarantine and later tested positive for the pneumonia-like virus, dubbed the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the center said.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that travelers, regardless of nationality, who have recently been to China and are found to have “pneumonia-like symptoms,” would now be subject to compulsory quarantine.
The CDC said that while those with the coronavirus might not develop a fever, the measure in practice would still depend on monitoring the temperatures of inbound travelers when they arrive at airports and seaports across the nation.
Travelers with a fever would then be asked about their travel history and be checked by a doctor if the situation warrants, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.
Those found to have pneumonia-like symptoms, such as shortness of breath and low blood-oxygen levels, and who have been in China in the previous 14 days, would be placed in compulsory quarantine, he said, adding that additional medical workers have been posted at the nation’s international gateways to support the measure.
Previously, people were only quarantined if they developed pneumonia-like symptoms and had been to Wuhan.
Those who have the aforementioned symptoms and have been to China, but failed to report their conditions to health authorities could face a fine of up to NT$150,000 for breaching the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), the CDC said.
The CDC will soon have brochures distributed on flights from China, Hong Kong and Macau to alert inbound travelers about the seriousness of the disease, Chuang said.
The brochures are to remind travelers to monitor their health and report to the authorities if they develop pneumonia-like symptoms, or face a fine.
The CDC reiterated its appeal to Taiwanese traveling in China to wear surgical masks and avoid contact with animals, animal markets and patients with acute respiratory syndrome.
People who develop a fever, acute cough or other respiratory symptoms within 14 days after returning from China should contact the CDC via its 1922 hotline, or 0800-001-922, wear a surgical mask and seek immediate medical attention.
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