People who are returning to Taiwan and wish to stay at a centralized facility for their mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival can, starting tomorrow, apply online for a room, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday.
The CECC last week announced that starting from Friday next week, inbound passengers would not only have to provide a negative COVID-19 result from a polymerase chain reaction test issued within three days before boarding a plane to Taiwan, but would also need to provide a quarantine location certification document.
The quarantine location must be in a centralized quarantine facility or quarantine hotel, or, if people wish to quarantine at home, they would need to sign an affidavit that no other non-quarantined individuals would be in the same unit, the CECC said.
However, as an increasing numbers of overseas Taiwanese are expected to return for the Lunar New Year holidays next month, many people have expressed concerns that there would not be enough quarantine locations.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the CECC would increase capacity at centralized facilities by about 1,500 to 2,000 rooms.
Hospital and Social Welfare Organizations Administration Commission Director Wang Pi-sheng (王必勝) said that there are currently 3,765 rooms at 35 centralized facilities, with an occupancy rate of about 40 percent.
Inbound passengers who wish to stay at centralized facilities can apply online at https://hdhq.mohw.gov.tw, Wang said, adding that they would receive a reservation code via e-mail.
The reservation code can be used as quarantine location certification when boarding a plane to Taiwan, he said, adding that people would be upon arrival instructed by airport staff to take designated vehicles to a centralized facility.
“The accommodation fee will be NT$2,000 per day,” Wang said, adding that no fees would be charged for children under 12 who quarantine in a room with a parent.
Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), who is deputy head of the center, said that quarantine hotel capacity has been gradually increased to 16,187 rooms, from about 2,700 rooms when the policy was implemented in late March last year.
Another 1,117 rooms would be added in the next few days, he added.
Most of the additional rooms, about 450, would be in Taipei, followed by Kaohsiung, Taoyuan and Taichung, as the distribution reflects the residency of inbound passengers, he said.
The current quarantine hotel occupancy rate is nearly 50 percent and might increase after the new quarantine rules take effect, Chen Tsung-yen said.
Some local governments limit access to quarantine hotels to local residents, he said, urging the authorities to cooperate in providing rooms to incoming passengers.
Asked if family members who returned together can stay in the same room for their quarantine, Wang said that adults would need to stay in separate rooms at centralized facilities, and children under 12 could stay with one adult.
Chen Shih-chung said that family members can stay in the same housing unit, as long as no other non-quarantined individuals are there.
If one of them tests positive for COVID-19 during quarantine, the other family member would be subject to another 14 days of home isolation, he said.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is CECC spokesperson, said that people who quarantine in the same unit should stay in separate rooms with independent bathrooms.
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing
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