Foreigners with HIV are no longer banned from entering, staying or residing in the nation, after amendments to the HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act (人類免疫缺乏病毒傳染防治及感染者權益保障條例) were passed yesterday by the legislature.
The amendments include the removal of Article 18, which stipulated that people of foreign nationalities were subject to a request for a recent HIV test report if they wished to remain in the nation for more than three months and could be deported or have their visas and permits annulled if the test result was positive.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Yu-hsin (楊玉欣) said that the UN has long argued that there is no evidence that restrictions on entry, stay and residence of HIV-positive people protect public health and “there are only 28 countries left with such restrictions on people living with HIV.”
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) and other lawmakers who proposed the amendments said that to move in line with the global trend on human rights protection, “there is no reason to impose restrictions, particularly on people with HIV.”
The US, South Korea and China have removed similar restrictions in recent years, the lawmakers added.
Another change to the law is the inclusion of an additional clause to Article 15 — in which it is stated that medical personnel “shall only collect blood of the individuals for HIV testing upon gaining the consent of the individuals concerned after going through counseling procedures” — that allows the collection and testing of certain groups of people without their or their legal representatives’ consent.
The designated groups include medical personnel and emergency response personnel, who are exposed to the risk of HIV infection in their work by coming into contact with blood and bodily fluids, individuals who have fallen unconscious and infants born to unidentified mothers.
The revised act also stipulates that the National Health Insurance (NHI) system will cover the costs of the medical treatment of people with HIV after two years of medications provided by the competent authority, which is the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The CDC will continue to partially shoulder the medical costs that are not covered by the NHI after two years of adherence to therapy to make sure that the patients do not unilaterally terminate the treatment out of financial concerns, Yang said.
SURPRISE GUEST: Media reports identified the visitor as Admiral Michael Studeman, director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
DEFENSE: The construction of indigenous submarines will be a testament to the nation’s commitment to safeguard its sovereignty, President Tsai Ing-wen said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday presided over a ceremony to mark the start of construction of the nation’s first indigenous submarine at state-run shipbuilder CSBC Corp’s (台灣國際造船) shipyard in Kaohsiung. “This submarine is an important part of allowing our navy to develop asymmetric warfare and to intimidate and block enemy ships from surrounding Taiwan’s main island,” Tsai said. “With the construction of the submarine to its future commission, we will certainly let the world know our persistence in safeguarding our sovereignty.” Tsai has made boosting the nation’s indigenous defense capacity a central pillar of her defense policy. She recently relaunched the
TIMELINE QUESTIONS: Chen Shih-chung said: ‘If anyone could assure us that we could get the shots in the first quarter of next year, we could set off firecrackers’ Taiwan has secured nearly 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported five new imported infections among travelers from Indonesia and the Philippines. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that Taiwan on Monday signed a procurement contract with a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer and paid a deposit to secure 10 million doses. It was the first contract finalized with a manufacturer and negotiations are under way with three other vaccine makers, Chen said. With the more than 4.6 million doses that can be obtained through the COVAX platform —