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Homeland Security

Taiwan to test all symptomatic travelers from Europe for COVID-19

ROC Central News Agency

03/15/2020 08:58 PM

Taipei, March 15 (CNA) Taiwan will carry out tests for the COVID-19 coronavirus on people arriving from Europe who show symptoms of the disease, in light of the recent spike in the country's imported cases from that continent, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Sunday.

Such testing will also be extended to people already in Taiwan who have visited Europe in the past 14 days and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, the CECC said.

Priority will be given to those with pneumonia and other respiratory symptoms, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.

The CECC new testing guidelines were issued after Taiwan on the weekend confirmed nine new cases of COVID-19, all of which were deemed as imported infections, bringing its total number of cases to 59.

Prior to Sunday, the testing guidelines covered symptomatic travelers from other high-risk countries and areas, but not Europe.

As part of the CECC's recent focus on Europe, it announced Saturday that it was upgrading its travel warning for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and 27 countries in Europe to its highest level, effective Tuesday, in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the travel warning, potential travelers are advised to avoid any unnecessary trips to Dubai and the 27 countries, and arriving passengers from those countries will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, according to the CECC.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Sunday issued a "gray" travel advisory for Australia, advising caution while traveling in that country.

It also upgraded its travel alert to "yellow" for Colombia, suggesting travel should be reconsidered, and to "orange" for Ecuador, urging Taiwan residents to avoid unnecessary trips to the country.

In MOFA's four-color-coded travel alert system, red is at the highest level, followed by orange, yellow and gray.

(By Matt You and Evelyn Kao)


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