《TAIPEI TIMES》 Home quarantine rules relaxed in some cases
A woman looks at a sign in the window of a pharmacy in Taipei yesterday reading: “We do not have any rapid COVID-19 tests, so please do not ask.” Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
DELIVERY SERVICES: An official said that people who are quarantining at home can receive medication via the Eucare app or the taiwan-pharma.org.tw Web site
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
People who test positive for COVID-19, but have mild or no symptoms, can quarantine at home starting this week, the Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC） said yesterday, while more than 1,800 pharmacies agreed to assist with drug deliveries.
The quarantine announcement came as the daily local COVID-19 case count topped 1,500 yesterday.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung （陳時中）, who heads the CECC, said that the quarantine policy is to help preserve healthcare capacity for critical cases.
Ten cities and counties had applied to implement the policy as of Monday.
New Taipei City was the first to start a trial program on Thursday last week, while Kaohsiung implemented the policy on Monday, the same day that Taipei started testing it in Xinyi District （信義）.
More than 1,800 National Health Insurance （NHI）-contracted pharmacies nationwide, including in Kinmen and Penghu counties, have expressed willingness to deliver medication to people quarantining at home, Federation of Taiwan Pharmacists’ Associations president Huang Chin-shun （黃金舜） said.
Huang said that people who are quarantining at home can receive medication in two ways:
The first is through the Eucare （健康益友） telemedicine app, which involves obtaining a digital prescription from a physician, finding a nearby NHI-contracted pharmacy using the app and calling a pharmacist, he said.
The pharmacist needs to confirm the identity of the patient, details of the prescription and whether the drugs would be picked up from the pharmacy or delivered to the patient’s home, he said.
The patient is to submit a verification code provided by the pharmacist and a digital prescription would be sent to the pharmacy, Huang said.
Pharmacists must deliver the drugs within 24 hours of receiving a prescription and instruct the patient on their use by telephone or online, to avoid direct contact, he said.
The second method is to find an NHI-contracted pharmacy through the association’s Web site （www.taiwan-pharma.org.tw/public/pharmacy_gohome.php） and contact a pharmacist for delivery, Huang said.
Pharmacists can earn NT$200 for each delivery, or NT$400 on outlying islands, in remote areas or indigenous communities, he said.
The financial rewards might not be enough for their efforts, but the pharmacists are willing to assist in the nation’s disease prevention efforts, and allow people to receive safe and high-quality drugs at home during quarantine, he added.