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Homeland Security

CECC loosens restrictions on visits to nursing homes

ROC Central News Agency

05/01/2020 06:27 PM

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday loosened restrictions on visits to nursing homes as Taiwan recorded its sixth consecutive day of zero new COVID-19 coronavirus infections.

People who wish to visit friends and relatives in nursing homes may now do so, as long as they book in advance, as this will limit the number of people all visiting at the same time, the CECC said in a statement.

Visitors will also need to provide their real names, fill out a health declaration and provide their travel histories, the CECC said.

In order to further limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission, people with fever, respiratory symptoms, abnormal sense of smell or taste, or other symptoms related to the virus, will not be allowed to visit, the CECC said.

Each nursing home resident will only be allowed to receive one group of visitors per day, with a maximum of three people per group, including children, the CECC said, adding that all residents and visitors will need to wear masks during visiting periods.

If possible, residents who are not bedridden should try to meet their visitors in public areas of the nursing home, where physical distancing of at least 1.5 meters indoors and one meter outdoors can be implemented, the CECC said.

Visitors will only be allowed into the rooms of residents if the person they are visiting is confined to bed, the CECC added.

The loosening of the restrictions was decided upon out of consideration that Taiwan's prevention of the coronavirus has been relatively successful, recording six consecutive days of zero infections as of Friday, said Health Minister and CECC Commander Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) at a daily press briefing.

The last time Taiwan reported a confirmed case of COVID-19 was on April 25, and it has not reported a local transmission of the disease since April 12.

Chen also noted that "because Mother's Day is arriving soon, it would also not be good for the mental health of residents of nursing homes if they don't have any visitors for long periods."

Nursing homes and hospital wards in Taiwan have placed restrictions on visitors in recent months to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as nursing homes overseas have become hotbeds of the virus.

The elderly have been pinpointed by health experts and doctors as among the most vulnerable to the disease as they often have underlying health issues, which can cause further complications.

To date, Taiwan has recorded 429 cases of the disease, with six deaths, according to CECC statistics.

(By William Yen)

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