Strict measures forcing the cabin crews and pilots of local airlines to be quarantined at home between flights to combat COVID-19 were put into effect on Friday, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said.
All flight crews working on long-haul passenger flights that require them to enter a foreign country to rest would be subject to five days of home quarantine after returning to Taiwan, said Clark Lin (林俊良), director of the CAA’s Flight Standards Division.
The home quarantine period for cargo flights would be three days, Lin said.
Photo: Yao Chieh-hsiu, Taipei Times
Prior to Friday’s announcement, flight crews of domestic airlines were exempt from the requirement set on March 19 that all people entering Taiwan from abroad must quarantine themselves at home for 14 days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The new guidelines allow for quarantine periods of fewer than 14 days, because such flexibility is necessary for the aviation industry to transport passengers overseas and carry essential supplies, Lin said.
Under the rules, once crew members have arrived in foreign countries, they must be transported separately to designated hotels and isolated there until the return leg, while reporting their body temperatures every day.
At home, the crew members are not allowed to leave their homes at all during their five-day or three-day quarantines.
If they are to spend more than five or three days in Taiwan between flights, they must remain in quarantine for 14 days, but can go out to handle daily living needs, Lin said.
“The airline companies must arrange for these people to seek medical treatment if they develop symptoms” while in isolation at home, he said.
The change in standard operating procedures for quarantines for flight attendants and pilots is because of the changing status of the pandemic, Lin said, adding that short-haul flight personnel would not be affected.
Previously, airline crew were not subject to the home-quarantine requirement as long as they followed the standard operating procedures while overseas.
That practice raised concerns, particularly this week after two cargo flight pilots with China Airlines were confirmed to have contracted the disease.
Meanwhile, also starting on Friday, all migrant caregivers and domestic helpers who enter Taiwan are to undergo their 14-day mandatory quarantine together at a government-appointed facility, the Ministry of Labor said.
The measure was taken to help ease any problems household employers might face in finding a location for their newly arrived caregiver or domestic helper, as all people arriving in Taiwan, including Taiwanese, must undergo home quarantine, the ministry said.
The government-appointed facilities include 400 beds run by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and another 230 beds being planned with the help of manpower agency associations, it said, adding that all costs would be covered by employers.
Due to the limited number of beds, employers would need official paperwork, starting yesterday, to prove that their newly hired worker has been approved to stay at one of the facilities before the worker can be brought into the country, the Ministry of Labor said.
Newly arrived migrant workers in the manufacturing sector would do their mandatory quarantines at locations organized by their companies or brokers, it said, adding that the locations would be approved by the government to meet quarantine requirements, such as having one person per room.
Quarantine is mandatory for all migrant workers who boarded their planes after 4pm on March 17, regardless of where they are coming from.
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