The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday issued a level 2 “alert” travel notice for eight European and two Middle Eastern countries, as well as a level 1 “watch” notice for 16 other European countries as it confirmed a new case of COVID-19 infection in a Taiwanese woman who on Sunday returned from the UK.
The coronavirus outbreak in Europe is getting worse, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center.
The CECC had already issued a level 3 “warning” travel notice — avoid all nonessential travel — for Italy and a level 2 “alert” notice — practice enhanced precautions — for France, Germany and Spain, he said.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
“We are issuing a level 2 ‘alert’ travel notice for Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Austria, effective as of today,” he added.
“Also, a level 2 travel notice has been issued for Bahrain and Kuwait in the Middle East, as they have the same level of risk,” he said.
“We are also issuing a level 1 ‘watch’ travel notice for Greece, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Finland, Slovenia, Poland, Estonia, Hungary, Luxemburg, Malta, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, the UK and Ireland,” whose citizens can move freely within the Schengen area, Chen said
People arriving in Taiwan from these countries are required to practice self-health management for 14 days, the center said.
Chen said that the latest confirmed case — the nation’s 48th — is woman in her 30s living in northern Taiwan.
The woman visited a friend in the UK from Feb. 28 to Sunday, Chen said.
She sought medical treatment at a clinic for dizziness and a headache on Monday, went to hospital the next day after she developed a mild fever and a cough, and was reported for testing, he said, adding that the results came out positive yesterday.
The woman mainly stayed at home after returning from the trip, Centers for Disease Control Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said.
Nine people who have had close contact with her in Taiwan have shown no symptoms, Chou said, adding that a contact investigation is being carried out.
In related news, the Regulations Governing the Compensation for Periods of Isolation and Quarantine for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens (嚴重特殊傳染性肺炎隔離及檢疫期間防疫補償辦法) was promulgated on Tuesday.
Under the regulations, people who are placed under mandatory 14-day home isolation, home quarantine or have asked for disease-prevention family care leave due to COVID-19-related policies can apply for compensation of NT$1,000 per day up to a maximum of NT$14,000 for 14 days.
The budget allocated for the compensation is expected to cover about 130,000 people.
Chou said that the number is only an estimate, adding that an actual epidemic situation is difficult to predict accurately.
The quarantine orders would not stop if the number exceeds 130,000 people, he added.
Asked about concerns that some people might travel abroad with the aim of being placed under home quarantine to receive compensation, Chen said such offenses would be punished in accordance with the law.
As for the center’s online mask purchase program, Chen said that people can start ordering masks from 9am today at the Web site emask.taiwan.gov.tw.
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