The government might consider dropping a negative COVID-19 test result requirement for travelers from low-risk countries, but lifting the quarantine requirement for inbound travelers is still risky, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday.
The CECC on Monday said it does not plan to further loosen border controls soon.
National Taiwan University Children’s Hospital superintendent Huang Li-min (黃立民) said the “3+4” quarantine policy separates inbound travelers from family members for only three days, which is not enough to block the spread of the virus, so the government might consider changing it to a “0+7” policy.
He also said that it might be more difficult for people in other countries to find places that offer polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, so requiring travelers to provide a negative PCR result from a test taken within 48 hours of flying to Taiwan might prove an obstacle for many people.
The government might consider requiring a negative rapid test result instead, he said.
Asked about Huang’s comments, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, yesterday said “it is less likely that we will change the test requirement to a rapid test result, but it is possible that we might remove the [negative test result] requirement for travelers from low-risk areas,” he said.
“It is still a little risky” to shorten the quarantine policy to “0+7,” as the number of new COVID-19 infections has increased by about 20 percent in European countries and the US, and cases caused by the new Omicron subvariant BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2 are being detected, so the center needs to observe the situation for a little longer.
In related news, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, said 35,914 new local cases and 103 deaths were confirmed yesterday.
Among the 3,863,991 local cases reported this year, 99.56 percent were asymptomatic or mild, 0.25 percent developed moderate illness and 0.19 percent developed severe illness, including 6,275 deaths, CECC data showed.
CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy chief of the CECC’s medical response division, said a man in his 30s who had a mental disorder and was unvaccinated died of pneumonia and respiratory failure nine days after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
A 10-year-old boy was confirmed as having multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) and was being treated in an intensive care unit, Lo said.
Eighty-four severe COVID-19 cases have been reported in children this year, including 21 deaths, he said, adding that 27 people have developed severe illness caused by MIS-C.
Chuang said a batch of 450,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children aged six months to five years old would arrive in Taiwan this morning.
Lot release testing would take about 14 days, so the vaccine is expected to be delivered to local governments on July 21 at the earliest, he said.
Some cities and counties might start administering the vaccine the same afternoon, he added.
UNDER WATCH: Taiwan will have to establish a standardized nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus and monitor its spread, the CDC said The Langya henipavirus, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, has been discovered in China, with 35 human infections reported so far, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, adding that the nation would establish a nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus. A study titled “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China” that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday said that a new henipavirus associated with a fever-causing human illness was identified in China. The study said an investigation identified 35 patients with acute infection of the Langya henipavirus in China’s Shandong
If any war were to break out between the US and China, one trigger might be the increasingly frequent fighter jet encounters near Taiwan. Almost every day, Taiwanese fighter pilots hop in their US-made F-16s to intercept Chinese warplanes screaming past their territory. The encounters probe the nation’s defenses and force the pilots on both sides to avoid mistakes that could lead to a crisis that spins out of control. “I didn’t know whether they would fire at me,” said retired colonel Mountain Wang, recounting a tense five-minute confrontation he had with Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) jets more than a decade
RESTRICTION EASED: Passengers would no longer be directed to designated waiting areas, and be allowed to shop and dine, the operator of the airport said International travelers transiting at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport would from today be allowed to go shopping and dine in the airport’s departure areas, the airport operator said, as the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) eased some border restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19. Taoyuan International Airport Corp said reopening borders is a global trend, and since reallowing transit passengers from June 15, the airport has continued to review its procedures to improve services and efficiency. Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the CECC, inspected the airport on July 22, while Deputy Minister of Transportation and
BLOCKADE RUNNERS: The military should prepare to cope with a possible blockade of Taiwan, and the latest drills give China a new basis for exercises, security experts said Taiwan should pay close attention to whether China will normalize military drills around the nation, experts said yesterday, adding that the military must devise coping strategies. China from Thursday to yesterday conducted its largest-ever military exercises around Taiwan in retaliation for a visit last week by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. Although the nation’s armed forces have won public support by condemning the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for bullying Taiwan, the military should bolster its capabilities, Institute of National Defense and Security Research research fellow Su Tzu-yun