The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) expects an increase in the number of returning travelers in the coming days, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, adding that the varying qualities of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test reports from other countries is a big concern.
Chen, who heads the center, was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders scholarship award ceremony in Taipei.
“As the global COVID-19 situation is worsening, and with some holidays coming up, there might be an increase in the number of overseas Taiwanese returning to Taiwan,” he said.
Photo: Tony Yao, Taipei Times
The expected increase in numbers in the next few days is also linked to a policy requiring all arriving passengers to provide the result of a PCR test issued within three days of boarding a flight to Taiwan, starting tomorrow, he said.
Asked how the authenticity of PCR results provided by arriving passengers could be verified, Chen said “it is very difficult … the different levels of quality of PCR test results [from different countries], the possibility of fabricated PCR test results, and even how to prove that individuals have been vaccinated ... these are all difficult problems.”
Therefore, the center cannot only rely on the PCR results taken before departure when judging whether an arriving passenger is infected with COVID-19, he said.
Asked to comment on public concern that travelers would need to take another PCR test if their scheduled flight is suddenly canceled, Chen said that would be an exceptional condition, so the traveler would not need to take another test or face a fine.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman, told a news conference that it is difficult to identify fake reports, and that the center could try to find patterns of possible fake reports among those received.
The center encourages people to report anyone they know of who has used fabricated PCR test result documents, he said, adding that people who provide a fake report face a fine of NT$10,000 to NT$150,000 for breaching the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法).
Meanwhile, Chuang said that three Indonesian women who came to Taiwan to work have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the number of cases in the country to 651.
Two of them did not experience symptoms in Taiwan, but tested positive in a mandatory test taken on Friday before leaving centralized quarantine, Chuang said.
The other case had an abnormal sense of smell on Tuesday last week while staying in centralized quarantine, but did not report the condition, as she thought the symptom was mild and brief, he said, adding that she also tested positive in a mandatory test on Friday.
BACK TO NORMAL? The move would be part of a gradual easing of curbs monitored by the CECC, which would retain the quarantine mandate if case numbers rise again The Cabinet yesterday approved a plan to next month reopen Taiwan’s borders to all visitors and lift the quarantine mandate for arrivals, provided the nation’s COVID-19 situation does not escalate. The changes are likely to take effect on Oct. 13 as part of a phased easing of border controls that is to start on Thursday next week when a negative polymerase chain reaction test result would no longer be needed, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Arriving travelers would instead be given four rapid antigen home test kits, Lo said. The three-day quarantine requirement followed by four days of mandatory
The Chinese navy has the ability to blockade Taiwan, but doing so could prompt a coordinated response by the international community to intervene to resolve the crisis for Taiwan, US Vice Admiral Karl Thomas said. “Clearly if they do something that’s non-kinetic, which, you know, a blockade is less kinetic ... then that allows the international community to weigh in and to work together on how we’re going to solve that challenge,” the commander of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Monday. While he could not predict whether China would launch a full-scale
‘NO SURRENDER’: A blockade or outlying island seizure would be an act of war, and China’s drills last month have emboldened Taipei in its response plans, an official said The Republic of China Army Command Headquarters has agreed to purchase 5,000 Kestrel close-range anti-armor missiles worth NT$400 million (US$12.63 million) from the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, according to the military’s latest arms purchase bid notice. The army asked the institute to complete the order within 13 months, a military source said on condition of anonymity. Kestrel missiles are designed to penetrate armored vehicles and are used in anti-surface warfare, as they feature optical sights and night vision, and can be operated in all weather conditions. The missile has a 400m range, or a 150m range when used for breaching brick
‘ABSURD’: UN Resolution 2758 expelled the Chiang Kai-Shek government without mentioning Taipei, something the Chinese minister did not acknowledge, Taipei said Taiwan yesterday criticized Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) for “intentionally misinterpreting” a 1971 UN resolution to misrepresent Taiwan’s status to the global community. In his address on Saturday to the UN General Assembly, Wang cited Resolution 2758 as a basis for Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. He said that Beijing considers Taiwan an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times.” “Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait... Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said. General Assembly Resolution 2758