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Strict protocols in place for flight arriving from U.K. Sunday: CECC

ROC Central News Agency

12/26/2020 06:09 PM

Taipei, Dec. 26 (CNA) Taiwan has strict COVID-19 protocols in place for the arrival on Sunday of a flight from the United Kingdom, which has recently faced a surge in cases caused by a new, highly-infectious variant of the coronavirus, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

China Airlines has said it expects around 120 passengers to arrive aboard flight CI082 from London, which is scheduled to arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 6:15 p.m. that day.

The flight will be the first to arrive from the U.K. since the CECC cut the number of weekly flights between the two countries from two to one and introduced new arrival protocols for travelers from Britain in response to the new virus strain, which is believed to be up to 70 percent more contagious than the current one that has caused a global pandemic.

Under the new policies, passengers arriving on the flight will have to be quarantined at designated government facilities and will be tested for COVID-19 prior to finishing their quarantine, CECC spokesman Chaung Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told CNA on Saturday.

The two main reasons for the new requirements, Chuang said, are that Taiwan has not yet recorded a case of the new variant and the public is concerned about its ability to spread.

However, if any of the travelers are found to be infected with the variant, Taiwan's health authorities could take samples to use for research purposes, he said.

According to Chuang, the CECC expects that around 100 passengers will arrive from the U.K. per week, which will not overburden Taiwan's quarantine centers.

The centers have been operating at around 60 percent of capacity, and that figure is expected to drop due to the recent entry ban on migrant workers from Indonesia, he added.

In separate comments on Sunday, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Taiwan currently has 29 collective quarantine centers with a capacity of 3,200 and is planning to open another six facilities in January.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Yu Hsiao-han and Matthew Mazzetta)

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