The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday thanked the US for donating another 1.5 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, while announcing new rules that would allow inbound travelers to spend the first day 10 days of their 14-day quarantine period at a centralized facility or hotel and the remaining four days at home.
Together with the 2.5 million doses that arrived in June, the US has donated a total of 4 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Taiwan, Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), the deputy head of the center, told a daily news briefing.
American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Tseng (曾厚仁) were at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to welcome the arrival of the vaccines at 1:43pm.
“These donations reflect our commitment to Taiwan, a vibrant democracy, valued partner and trusted friend.” Oudkirk said at the airport. “Partners support each other, especially under tough circumstances, and our support for Taiwan, through vaccines or otherwise, is rock solid.”
“The United States and Taiwan are proving what we can do when we collaborate to address shared challenges,” she said, adding that the vaccine delivery is another great example of the AIT’s and Taiwan’s close friendship as “real friends, real progress.”
Chen Shih-chung said that when a local COVID-19 outbreak occurred in May, the US government quickly donated 2.5 million doses of vaccines on June 20, allowing Taiwan to start its vaccination program when it lacked critical supplies.
The latest delivery can be used to vaccinate people waiting for their second dose of the Moderna vaccine, as a first dose for some “Moderna-only fans” or even included in a mix-and-match regimen, he said, adding that Taiwan is very grateful to US President Joe Biden’s administration for being a “real friend.”
The CECC yesterday reported five imported cases of COVID-19, but no local infections or deaths.
The five arrived from Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Ukraine, Chen Tsung-yen said.
As many Taiwanese are expected to return to the country during the Lunar New Year holiday in January next year, the CECC and other government agencies have discussed the issue and made preparations, he said.
The Lunar New Year holiday quarantine measures are to be implemented from Dec. 14 to Feb. 14 next year, he said.
“First of all, the mandatory 14-day quarantine followed by seven days of self-health management for inbound travelers will remain in place,” he said.
Inbound travelers who have traveled to “key high-infection risk countries” 14 days prior to arriving in Taiwan will have to stay in a centralized quarantine facility for 14 days, he said.
Countries on this list include India, Myanmar and the UK, he said, adding that the list would be modified depending on COVID-19 developments worldwide.
As for inbound travelers arriving from other countries, they will still be required to stay in a quarantine hotel or self-paid centralized quarantine facility for the first 10 days of quarantine, and an additional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test would be required on the ninth or 10th day of quarantine, he said.
If they tested negative, they could choose to spend the remaining four days of quarantine at home, he said.
They have to take a disease prevention taxi or vehicle to return home and must follow the rule of “only one person per household,” or “one person per room” if all household members have been fully vaccinated, he added.
Family members or coresidents who arrived in Taiwan together on the same day would also be allowed to stay in the same hotel room during quarantine, he added.
As inbound travelers are subject to three PCR tests during quarantine — upon arrival, on the ninth or 10th day and upon ending it — they do not need to take a COVID-19 rapid test at home before ending self-health management, he said.
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