Wed, Feb 12, 2020 - Page 2 News List

Virus Outbreak: Foreigner fined over quarantine

HARMONIOUS SOCIETY:Chen Shih-chung said that everyone must cooperate on disease prevention and avoid a negative attitude toward quarantined people

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Firefighters simulate providing emergency care for patients of the 2019 novel coronavirus in a training exercise in Penghu County yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Penghu County Fire Department via CNA

A foreigner has been fined NT$10,000 for breaching a mandatory home quarantine ordered to reduce the risk of a local 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, the fifth person fined for arbitrarily leaving their quarantine location in the city, the Taipei Department of Health said yesterday.

The man traveled from China’s Guangdong Province and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Monday last week, when he was placed on a 14-day home quarantine in his hotel room, Disease Control Division head Yu Tsan-hua (余燦華) said.

However, the hotel reported that the man left his room on Saturday evening, when he was reportedly a little emotionally unstable, and went to smoke a cigarette in the stairwell for about six minutes, she said.

The Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法) stipulates that people who enter Taiwan from disease-affected areas, or have had or might have had contact with patients or suspected patients, can be placed under home quarantine, concentrated quarantine, isolated care or other necessary measures.

A fine of between NT$10,000 and NT$150,000 can be imposed for breaching the act, Yu said, adding that in addition to the foreigner, four Taiwanese have been fined for breaching home isolation and quarantine measures.

Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) on Monday afternoon said that the city government has simplified the penalty procedure, allowing the department to impose such fines more efficiently and enforce the law more strictly.

In Taipei, there were 113 people placed in home isolation and 573 in home quarantine as of Monday, she said, adding that four reported experiencing symptoms.

However, there were also six people under home quarantine who cannot be contacted by officials, Huang said, adding that the city government has reported the cases to the National Police Agency.

Asked about a debate regarding whether to publicize confirmed patients’ information, she said that their personal data is protected by the act.

As no one wants to be infected or transmit diseases to other people, the city government believes that everyone who has had direct contact with infected patients would adhere to the home quarantine orders, she added.

On Monday afternoon, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at the Central Epidemic Command Center that if the public has a negative attitude toward infected patients or people under home quarantine, more people might try to hide their symptoms, which would be harmful not only for them and society, but also the government’s disease prevention efforts.

Effective disease prevention relies on everyone’s cooperation, said Chen, who also heads the center.

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