The Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday announced that people in quarantine can only stay at certified “quarantine hotels” if they choose to be quarantined at a hotel.
The Taipei City Government on Monday ordered non-quarantine hotels in the city, which accommodated 683 people in quarantine, to refer them to certified “quarantine hotels” by Friday, or it would publish the hotel’s names.
The center on Monday said that people in quarantine could also stay at general hotels if they conform to quarantine rules.
Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Centerm via CNA
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said that it opposes allowing ordinary hotels to accept guests who are undergoing mandatory quarantine, saying that the capacity of quarantine hotels should be expanded instead.
To solve the issue of a shortage of quarantine hotels, the KMT said that the central government could requisition hotels and coordinate with lodging businesses for them to become quarantine hotels, in accordance with the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), and provide those operators with subsidies.
If the CECC insists on opening ordinary hotels to guests who need to be quarantined, it should issue the “strictest” standard operating procedures on how it should be done and assist local governments with the training of staff, the KMT said.
As the start of the school year is approaching, New Taipei City Councilor Chiang I-chen (江怡臻), who is also a KMT spokesperson, called on the central government to address the issue of an expected increase in demand for quarantine hotels due to foreign students returning to Taiwan.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, yesterday announced that after discussions with local governments, the center had decided that people who need to be quarantined and choose to stay at a hotel can only stay at “quarantine hotels” certified by the local government.
People who wish to quarantine at home are required to stay in one room with private hygiene facilities and must be separated from others, he said, adding that they cannot leave the room during quarantine unless it is arranged with the local health department.
“We think having a mixture of general guests and guests in quarantine in the same section of a hotel makes quarantine control inefficient, so it would be better to have quarantined guests staying in designated areas,” Chen said.
He said that hotels must apply to the local government to be certified as a quarantine hotel, hotel personnel must accomplish training in disease prevention and disinfection measures, the space for accommodating a quarantined guest must be on a separate floor, and the hotels must be transparent in letting the public know that they are quarantine hotels.
Meanwhile, physicians, academics and politicians on Tuesday asked why Chen had instructed the Department of Civil Service Ethics to investigate why the Changhua County Public Health Bureau had tested an asymptomatic person.
That person was a teenager who had returned from the US, and was a carrier of COVID-19, becoming the nation’s 485th confirmed case.
Chen said yesterday that he did not intend to punish the bureau for not being in line with the center’s policy for testing suspected cases, but mainly wanted to clarify the facts.
He said he wanted to know why the teen was tested on the 10th day of home quarantine and how was the testing conducted, as people under quarantine are not allowed to leave the quarantine space.
He had heard that the bureau has tested dozens of asymptomatic people under quarantine since February or March, Chen added.
He said that, being the head of the center, he has to get a hold on the disease prevention measures at local levels, to understand the effectiveness and accuracy of the contact investigations nationwide, and to consider whether the current policies need to be modified to be more effective.
Additional reporting by Sherry Hsiao
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