Taitung County has failed to provide Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) with guidance regarding disease- prevention efforts, members of the Tao community in the township said, while also calling for a ban on tourists.
Lanyu Elementary School dean Syamen Womzas on Wednesday said that the township office should refuse visitors for the time being.
The Philippines’ Bataan Province on the island of Luzon has already restricted access, he wrote on Facebook.
“It is not a choice between money or our lives, it is how we address the issue,” Womzas said.
Womzas said the island has always lacked adequate medical resources and would be greatly affected if COVID-19 were to spread on the island.
Only civil servants and Orchid Island residents should be permitted to enter or leave the island, he said.
Lanyu Township Mayor Chiaman Chialamu said that the Tao community was worried and had asked that authorities at ports and airports take visitors’ temperatures.
However, the township office only had two forehead thermometers, which was only enough to satisfy the township office’s needs, Chialamu said.
Taitung County should provide the island with epidemic-prevention equipment, Chialamu said, adding that even though the county had three COVID-19 cases in home quarantine, it had not given the township any instructions or advice.
Taitung County Public Health Bureau Director Huang Ming-en (黃明恩) said that the county was also short on thermometers and Lanyu Township would have to purchase its own.
Huang said that he would provide the township office with a list of vendors for reference.
In related news, three people — from the US, Australia and India — attempted to enter the country by sailing into Houbihu (後壁胡) in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) area, hours before the ban on foreigners entering the country went into effect yesterday.
After confirming that they did not have symptoms of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control allowed them to enter the country, but asked them to perform self-health management.
They had been visiting Taiwan for more than two weeks as of Thursday last week, and were attempting to visit the Philippines, but when they were refused entry there, they returned to Taiwan, the Pingtung County Public Health Bureau said yesterday.
The Pingtung County Government said that as of Wednesday, it had two people in home quarantine and 150 in home isolation.
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