Sat, May 03, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet spells out home quarantine requirements

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet's severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) response task force yesterday announced regulations for those ordered to stay at home under quarantine, and the penalties for those who break the rules.

People who receive a home quarantine order from a local government or the Department of Health (DOH) must report to the authority who gave them the order within 24 hours.

Police will arrest those who fail to report to the authorities and take them to complete their quarantine at the army's Hungwu Base in Taoyuan County. They will also be fined between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000.

Those under home quarantine will be monitored closely, said Vice Minister of the Interior Hsu Ying-shan (許應深), who is now the spokesman for the task force.

"Local police will patrol quarantined people's residences at least three times a day to make sure these people do not break the rules," Hsu said. "In addition, we also welcome telephone calls to report any violations."

Quarantined people will need authorization from their local authority, such as the Taipei City Government or the DOH, if they need to leave their homes.

"Basically, local health bureaus will take care of their three meals a day. However, if they have to go out for certain errands, they must be escorted by certified medical personnel at all times," Hsu said.

Hsu emphasized that the regulations applied to both Taiwanese citizens and foreigners.

The task force also encouraged the public to call the Ministry of the Interior with any inquiries regarding the quarantine regulations or compensation. The numbers are 02-2397-6781 and 02-2397-6782.

In Taipei City, 1,449 people are quarantined at home and their daily meals and necessary medical treatment are being dealt with by the city government.

The city's Bureau of Civil Affairs said that 5,545 people who were thought to have visited Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital have completed their 10-day quarantine period and another 27 were still hospitalized.

The bureau said it will finish this weekend tracking down a total of 11,171 people who visited the hospital between April 8 and April 24 to make sure they did not miss any potential SARS patients.

In Taipei County, 1,586 residents are quarantined at home, according to the county's Bureau of Health.

"In the meantime, I would like to remind everybody again: If it's not necessary, please do not visit these quarantined people before they have completed their quarantine periods," said Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), the bureau's commissioner.

Hsu said that the Cabinet would arrange compensation for those who are quarantined and for the families of those who die of SARS.

Each quarantined person will be eligible to receive NT$5,000, he said, and the families of SARS fatalities are eligible to NT$100,000.

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