Hundreds of Taiwanese who were evacuated earlier this month from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged, were yesterday released from their 14-day quarantine.
The 361 — who returned to Taiwan on March 10 and 11 on two charter flights and were immediately quarantined at three facilities in New Taipei City and Taoyuan — thanked medical staff for their care and started leaving the facilities at about 6am.
Two of the evacuees developed a fever during their time in quarantine, but later tested negative for the novel coronavirus after two rounds of testing, officials in charge of the facilities said.
Facility workers arranged shuttle buses to take some of the evacuees to high-speed rail or MRT stations, while others were picked up relatives and friends.
Before the evacuees left, their temperatures were taken and they were disinfected at a checkpoint to ensure that they were in good condition.
One of the evacuees was a woman surnamed Hsiao (蕭), who traveled to Hubei Province with her Chinese husband and their son to visit her husband’s family before the Lunar New Year holiday and were stranded during the outbreak.
Hsiao said that while the family’s return home had been delayed for 42 days by the spread of the virus and quarantine, they were still delighted to be back.
Her husband, surnamed Xiang (向), said that they received good care during the quarantine, ate well and lived in a good environment.
Although the family was separated in three rooms, they communicated by telephone and the Internet to let each other know how much they missed each other, he said.
A 13-year-old female evacuee wrote a letter thanking Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), medical staff and unsung heroes at her quarantine facility.
“Taiwan will win the battle against the virus,” the girl said in the letter.
The government on Feb. 3 carried out the first evacuation of 247 people from Wuhan.
All but one of the 247 Taiwanese were released from quarantine on Feb. 18 after testing negative for the coronavirus, while the one evacuee who tested positive was discharged from a hospital on Feb. 27.
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