There needs to be a probe into the decision to ease COVID-19 quarantine rules for flight crew, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said yesterday.
The Central Epidemic Command Center on April 14 announced that it was relaxing quarantine regulations for flight crew members of Taiwanese airlines returning to the nation after working long-haul flights abroad.
Starting from April 15, they were required to undergo three days of quarantine, at the end of which they would be tested for the virus, followed by 11 days of self-health management, the center said at the time.
The center has failed to clearly explain the process behind its decision to shorten the isolation period, Chiang told a weekly meeting of the KMT Central Standing Committee.
“It even claimed there were no meeting minutes, which is avoiding outside supervision,” he said.
“We ask that the control and judicial agencies pursue the truth,” he said, adding that the people who made the decision must take responsibility.
If administrative negligence is found, compensation should be paid for people who died after being infected with COVID-19, he said.
“Only in this way can a repeat of the same mistake truly be avoided,” he added.
Countries in Europe and the US have gradually begun to lift pandemic restrictions, and the EU is developing vaccine passports to reopen its borders, Chiang said.
“If [Taiwan] cannot acquire enough vaccines in time ... we might go from being a model student in disease prevention to becoming an isolated island,” he said.
Taiwan might even be “unable to stand on the starting line of post-pandemic global economic recovery,” he said, adding that this would had a severe effect on industrial development.
Over the past year, thanks to the efforts of the public, the domestic COVID-19 situation was well-managed and people were willing to wait for locally manufactured vaccines, he said.
However, with the spread of the local outbreak, demand for vaccines has been high and securing internationally approved doses has become a priority, he said.
In related news, the KMT said in a statement that it has collected 4,000 COVID-19 rapid testing kits and would be distributing them to the KMT-led governments of Penghu, Kinmen and Lienchiang counties.
As healthcare capacity on outlying islands is lower than on Taiwan proper, rapid testing should be done across the board to prevent people who have contracted the virus from entering, KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) said.
The KMT plans to purchase 40,000 medical goggles, 110,000 face shields, 12,000 protective gowns and 13,000 rapid testing kits to support COVID-19 prevention efforts by city and county governments, it said.
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