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New self-quarantine rules for returnees from Southeast Asia: CECC

ROC Central News Agency

04/18/2020 07:56 PM

Taipei, April 18 (CNA) Taiwanese citizens and foreign residents returning from Southeast Asia will soon be required to self-quarantine at designated hotels, depending on their home-living arrangements, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Saturday.

The new regulations, which take effect April 21, mandate a 14-day hotel quarantine for incoming citizens and residents who live with other people in Taiwan in a home that does not include a private room with an en-suite bathroom, the CECC said in a statement.

The same applies to those who live in the same home with children under the age of six, people over the age of 65, or people with chronic diseases, as part of the government's ongoing efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the CECC said.

Incoming Taiwanese citizens, residents or specially approved people -- the only travelers allowed into the country at this time -- will have to provide information before they board their flight about their living arrangements and if they have traveled to Southeast Asia in the 14 days prior to their return, the CECC said.

On March 18, the CECC banned the entry of all foreign nationals, with the exception of those holding alien resident certificates or documents proving they are in Taiwan for diplomatic or other official purposes or to fulfill business contracts, as well as those who have received "special permission."

Failure to provide accurate information will result in fines of up to NT$150,000 (US$4,990), the CECC said.

The measure was taken because of rising numbers of COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia, especially in Singapore, India, and Indonesia, the CECC said.

Singapore recently recorded some 2,700 cases of community cluster infections that can be traced back to migrant worker dormitories, the CECC said.

With just 38 cases in worker dormitories before April 3, the numbers spiked to 2,689 on Friday, Singapore media reported.

On Friday alone, Singapore's health ministry confirmed an additional 623 cases of COVID-19 in the country, of which 558 were work permit holders residing in dormitories.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who also heads the CECC, said at a daily briefing in Taipei that Taiwan is concerned that cases in Southeast Asia have been under-reported in general.

"It may be possible that new coronavirus cases have been under-reported in Southeast Asia because of the lack of testing. Therefore we are worried about a trend in the rise in the number of infections," Chen said.

The new quarantine regulations follows on from the same requirements that went into effect Saturday for Taiwan citizens and other residents returning from Europe or the Americas, Chen said, adding that some 18 returnees were admitted into quarantine hotels that day.

(By William Yen)

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