《TAIPEI TIMES》 CECC to ease burden on hospitals
Passengers arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Friday last week. Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
/ Staff writer, with CNA
Starting today, people aged under 50 who test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Taiwan and have mild or no symptoms are to be sent to government-run quarantine facilities instead of medical facilities, the Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC） said yesterday.
The center on Tuesday last week implemented a policy requiring travelers from Europe, the US, the Middle East, New Zealand and Australia to wait at the airport for the result of a mandatory COVID-19 test, with those testing positive being sent to hospital for treatment and further testing, while those testing negative travel to either a quarantine hotel or government-run quarantine facility.
The testing would lower the possibility of infection of airport personnel, taxi drivers who take arrivals to quarantine facilities and employees at quarantine facilities, the center said at the time.
To reduce the pressure on hospitals, the center on Friday said that mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 cases aged 20 to 39 would from Saturday be sent to quarantine facilities rather than a hospital.
The age cap was raised yesterday to people aged between 20 and 49 to avoid overloading the healthcare system, the center said.
The regulation only applies to arrivals on long-haul flights, as they are described as “higher risk” by the center, which has said that the policy could be expanded.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung （陳時中）, who heads the center, yesterday said that the center would hold discussions with experts on whether the current approach to dealing with people infected with the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 should be changed as the variant appears to have a shorter incubation period.
The center would also continue to monitor the situation in other nations as it mulls the possibility of shortening the quarantine period for those infected with the variant, he said.
Additional reporting by Chiu Chih-jou