The crisis caused by a COVID-19 cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital is over, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news conference in Taipei that the final polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on the hospital’s employees and contract workers had been completed.
A final testing project was launched 14 days after the last confirmed case linked to the hospital cluster had visited the hospital, he said, adding that 2,135 employees received PCR tests from Wednesday to Friday, all of which were negative.
By 12am yesterday, a special electronic flag on the National Health Insurance (NHI) cards of the hospital’s employees and patients who were ordered to undergo self-health management had been removed, Chen said.
The center had on Jan. 24 ordered that all people who were hospitalized at Taoyuan General Hospital between Jan. 6 and Jan. 21, and any accompanying family members, be placed under home isolation immediately.
It also announced that a special virtual flag would be placed on the NHI cards of all hospital employees and people who had sought treatment at its outpatient departments or emergency room after Jan. 6, so that healthcare facilities would be more cautious if they sought medical attention.
Chen yesterday said that the center’s command post at the hospital had completed its task and the crisis had ended, so the task of returning to normal operations would be handled by the hospital’s administration.
“Taoyuan is not an epidemic area,” Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said at the CECC’s news conference, adding that a safety net had been set up and the virus did not result in any confirmed cases with an unknown infection source, “so visiting Taoyuan is as safe as visiting any other place in Taiwan.”
At the news conference, Taoyuan General Hospital superintendent Hsu Yung-nien (徐永年) bowed and said that he represented the hospital in apologizing for the cluster infection that led to 20 confirmed cases, more than 4,000 people placed under isolation and panic among the general public.
However, the hospital has felt support and love from the public, as well as the support of top officials in the central and local governments, including Cheng, who called him every evening since the outbreak began to ask what the hospital needed, Hsu said.
He also thanked the hospital’s employees for bravely remaining at their posts and taking care of patients through the crisis.
Hospital and Social Welfare Organizations Administration Commission Director Wang Pi-sheng (王必勝), head of the CECC’s command post at the hospital, said that the center did not want to place the hospital on lockdown, so low-risk patients were sent out of the hospital, high-risk healthcare professionals were put in isolation, and patients and their family members who were possible risks were later put in home isolation.
Meanwhile, the center reported three new imported cases of COVID-19, an Indonesian student in his 20s; a Taiwanese in his 30s who worked in Ghana and transited in Dubai; and an American in his 40s.
They all reported that they had or were experiencing symptoms upon arrival, so they were tested at the airport and stayed at a centralized quarantine facility while awaiting the test results, Chen said.
SOLVED: Domestic orders have already overtaken the total sold to China last year, while the Canadian and US representative offices posted messages of support A joint effort by groups and individuals in Taiwan and abroad to prop up sales of pineapples after China announced a ban on imports of the fruit succeeded in just four days, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday. China on Friday announced that it would suspend imports of Taiwanese pineapples starting on Monday, citing biosafety concerns. Following the announcement, the council urged the public to assist farmers by purchasing pineapples, saying it hoped to sell 20,000 tonnes of the fruit domestically and 30,000 tonnes in exports. “Domestic orders have already surpassed the total sold to China last year,” COA Minister
Taiwanese netizens and politicians yesterday mocked a Chinese plan to build a transportation network linking Beijing and Taipei, calling it “science fiction” and “daydreaming.” Their comments were in reaction to the Chinese State Council’s release last week of its “Guidelines on the National Comprehensive Transportation Network Plan,” which include several proposed transportation links, with one map showing a line running from China’s Jingjinji Metropolitan Region (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei) across the Taiwan Strait to Taipei. “This is the Chinese leadership daydreaming again of [fulfilling its] fantasy of extending China’s transportation network to Taiwan. I suggest people regard it as science fiction,” Democratic Progressive
‘UNITED FRONT’: Grooming young Taiwanese to become Internet celebrities or hosts is a Chinese tactic to spread propaganda to influence young people, a source said As part of its “united front” tactics, China has been grooming young Taiwanese to become Internet celebrities or Internet program hosts, a source said on condition of anonymity. Over the past year, about 1,000 Taiwanese living in China have participated in training programs and competitions for show hosts held in several cities, including Xiamen, Wenzhou and Hangzhou, the source said on Saturday. “Beijing is taking advantage of the openness of the Internet to spread propaganda about acceptance of China, and about ‘national security,’” the source said, adding that Taiwan’s national security officials are racing to fix the problem. Chinese infiltration of
PRIORITY: The 117,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine are to be distributed first to front-line healthcare workers who are most at risk of infection, the center said The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines — 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca drug — arrived in Taiwan yesterday morning, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said. The vaccines were flown to Taiwan by Korean Air and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 10:21am, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “After being cleared by customs, the vaccines have been transported to a designated cold storage center,” Chen said. “The vaccines are in multidose vials containing 10 doses per bottle, and are being stored in a refrigerated environment of 2°C to 8°C,” he said. AstraZeneca provided the