Taipei officials have fined a person NT$1 million (US$33,228) for breaking quarantine, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday.
It was the first time the city has issued the maximum fine for contravening its efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Taiwan.
The person, who was not identified, on Monday arrived from Xiamen, China, and according to Taiwan’s disease-prevention regulations, should have remained under home quarantine until March 23, the Taipei Department of Health said.
Photo: Shen Pei-yao, Taipei Times
The person was arranged to stay at a hotel, as they refused to provide their home address when passing through customs, the department said.
However, city officials and police could not find the person in their hotel room when they visited for a control check on Tuesday, it said.
The person was later found at Kaohsiung International Airport when they tried to purchase an airplane ticket out of Taiwan, the department said.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the health departments in Taipei and Kaohsiung coordinated to have the person escorted to a quarantine center in Kaohsiung, it said.
Over the past two weeks, the Taipei City Government has fined 70 people — 63 of whom were fined NT$10,000, four were fined NT$70,000, and three were fined NT$50,000, NT$60,000 and NT$1 million respectively.
In related news, a woman who arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport from the US via Hong Kong on Monday traveled to her home in a regular taxi in contravention of regulations.
People arriving from Hong Kong must not use public transportation and must quarantine themselves at home for 14 days, according to regulations.
The woman initially tried to get on a bus to Tainan, but was turned away by driver after the driver found out that she had arrived from Hong Kong, airport police said.
She had not arranged anyone to pick her up and did not have a vehicle to travel home, police said.
After learning that she must take a designated “disease prevention” taxi or face a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$1 million, the woman said that she had no money and loitered at the airport for seven hours, during which she removed her mask, they said.
Airport police said they could not fine her, as the rules stipulating punishments for such offenses were to take effect the following day.
Her family offered to pay for the taxi when she arrived home, but the woman refused, police said.
Although a police detail was stationed to watch the woman, and taxi and bus drivers were instructed not to transport her, she managed to board the airport tram to Terminal 1 and took a taxi to Taoyuan’s Nankan District (南崁), where she boarded a bus to Tainan, airport police said.
The incident suggests that the current policies need improvement, they said.
The CDC said that people under home quarantine may take public transportation if they wear a mask, but cannot take public transportation from an airport upon returning from a country or area with an at least level 2 “alert” travel warning, according to Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ disease-prevention rules.
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