Fri, Jul 04, 2003 - Page 3 News List

`Level B' quarantine restrictions lifted for arrivals from China

STAFF WRITER

The Ministry of the Interior announced yesterday that as of today, the "level B" home-quarantine requirement for arrivals from Hong Kong, Macau and other areas of China has been lifted.

The decision was made to reflect the fact that China has been removed from the World Health Organization's (WHO) list of SARS-affected areas and its SARS travel-advisory list, the ministry said.

Considering that the SARS epidemic has abated, the ministry adopted the resolution of the Cabinet's SARS Prevention and Relief Committee to lift the home- quarantine measure, which had been in place for more than two months.

In accordance with the relaxation of quarantine requirements, the ministry said when the Chinese spouses or children of Taiwanese apply to come to Taiwan, they will no longer have to sign a document agreeing to home quarantine. However, they will be required to sign a form upon their arrival promising to report to the authorities if they or their family members display SARS-like symptoms and that they will help send suspected patients to hospital.

This measure will also apply to those arriving from China to conduct exchanges or business activities.

Meanwhile, the government reported no new SARS infections or deaths yesterday, as the nation became the last country on the WHO list of SARS-affected areas. If no new cases are reported, health officials expect the WHO will remove Taiwan from the list tomorrow at the earliest.

Affected areas must go 20 consecutive days without reporting a new infection before the WHO will consider removing them from its list.

The countdown begins from the day the most recent SARS patient was isolated in a hospital. The nation's last case was hospitalized on June 15, and since then the country has gone 18 days without a new infection.

The nation's total number of cases yesterday dropped by two to 674 because two patients earlier diagnosed with SARS did not have the virus, according to the Center for Disease Control.

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