Taiwan plans to introduce a “strengthened” version of its self-health management guidelines for travelers with more text message checks in a bid to reduce the risk of more imported cases of COVID-19.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), on Saturday said that the center plans to introduce automatic text message checks as part of a “strengthened” version of the guidelines, as well as penalties for those who fail to reply to text messages or disclose symptoms of illness.
The CEEC has developed operational procedures for the new guidelines, Chen said, but he did not say when they would be implemented.
Currently, travelers entering Taiwan from nations or areas under a Level 3 warning must undergo 14 days of home quarantine, while those arriving from all other countries are required to conduct self-health management for 14 days by minimizing time spent in public, wearing a mask and checking their temperature twice daily.
Under the new measures travelers would receive a formal notification to observe self-health management for 14 days, during which time authorities would check on them via text messaging, according to a procedural chart the center released on Saturday.
People who believe they have symptoms of the virus would need to send messages to arrange for treatment, while those who fail to reply to either text messages or telephone calls would be referred to the police, the chart showed.
The government is also looking at the possibility of waiving home quarantine regulations for foreigners from nations and areas under a Level 3 travel warning who want to make a short business trip to Taiwan, Chen said.
Such visitors might be tested upon arrival for COVID-19 at their own cost, he said.
Asked about enforcement of the government’s travel restrictions, Chen said that healthcare personnel can view the travel history of Taiwanese or foreign residents by scanning their National Health Insurance cards.
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