For now, people are not banned from eating and drinking on trains, despite the rise in locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday.
“On Sunday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that the nation would remain on a level 2 COVID-19 alert until at least Jan. 24. So we will follow the center’s disease prevention guidelines for passengers on public transport systems,” Wang said.
However, bus and train depots have been asked to disinfect facilities more frequently, he said.
The center’s new policy — which requires travelers entering Taiwan on long-haul flights to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test immediately upon arrival — somewhat eases the burden on cleaners and other workers at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, and lowers their risk of contracting the virus, Wang said.
On Tuesday, 58 of 625 international arrivals at the Taoyuan airport tested positive for COVID-19, a positivity rate of 9.28 percent, while 30 of the 58 confirmed cases came from the US, CECC data showed.
Yesterday morning, 16 of 287 international arrivals at the Taoyuan airport tested positive, the center said.
Yesterday, Victor Wang (王必勝), the center’s on-site commander at the Taoyuan airport, told reporters that, after the chaos of Tuesday, personnel made changes to facilitate the PCR testing.
As more air travelers are expected to arrive in the next three days, the center seeks to shorten the waiting time for PCR test results, Victor Wang said.
“We have seen a tremendous improvement in the speed at which we screen samples gathered from inbound travelers and deliver travelers who test positive to hospitals,” he said.
“On Tuesday, it took us almost 20 minutes to just double check the names of passengers to be tested. We have shortened the time to two minutes and should gradually be able to reach the goal we set for ourselves,” he said.
The airport has 101 machines to process test samples, up from 20 on Tuesday, which should be enough to meet the demand in the next three days, he said.
Before the center’s new policy, travelers would leave for their quarantine facility in one to three hours, but on Tuesday, the time increased to about four hours, Civil Aeronautics Administration Director-General Lin Kuo-hsien (林國顯) told the Transportation Committee meeting.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said that the Taoyuan airport should have had enough testing machines before the policy took effect, given the large number of Taiwanese returning home for the Lunar New Year holiday.
The airport management failed to adequately prepare and was slow to respond to the chaos, Hung said.
The infection clusters that began with airport workers showed that the facility lacked a proper cleaning protocol and failed to provide cleaners with adequate protective gear, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) said, adding that the airport should stipulate new guidelines for cleaners.
Ninth graders were asked to define “trolling” on this year’s standardized exam, reflecting efforts to make the test better reflect real-life situations. Adjustments to this year’s Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students were revealed on Sunday, after the last cohort of students completed the test over the weekend. The Ministry of Education solicited feedback about the test from teachers, who approved of the new question in the English portion. Not only was question No. 20 “very much in line with real-life situations,” but it also used a new style in which students were asked to ascertain the correct dictionary definition based
Taiwan is on alert for monkeypox, a rare viral disease that has caused 87 infections in 11 countries over the past three weeks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Saturday. The WHO on Friday convened an emergency session to discuss a sudden outbreak of monkeypox in North America and Europe. Since the beginning of this month, 87 confirmed cases and 28 possible cases have been identified in 11 countries. The countries with the highest case counts are England with 29 cases, and Portugal and Spain with 23 each. Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease occurring primarily in the tropical rainforest areas
ADAPTING: The CECC said the policy change would happen this week at the earliest, while PCR testing stations would be used to diagnose people and prescribe drugs The general public would be able to use a positive rapid test result that has been confirmed by a doctor for COVID-19 diagnosis starting later this week at the soonest, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 79,441 new local infections and 53 deaths. The center on Saturday announced that it was expanding the rapid test diagnosis policy to people living in indigenous townships and outlying islands, starting today. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, yesterday said the policy might be further expanded to include “all people” this week, at the soonest. He
People should look out for eight signs of acute encephalitis in children and seek emergency medical treatment if they occur, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The symptoms are a body temperature of at least 41°C, impaired consciousness, excessive sleepiness, a persistent headache, vomiting, involuntary muscle twitching (myoclonic jerks), convulsions and an unsteady gait, said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division. The symptoms were spelled out in the “Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute COVID-19 Encephalitis in Children,” drawn up by members of the Taiwan Pediatric Association