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CECC announces criteria for early release from hospital quarantine

ROC Central News Agency

03/10/2021 07:54 PM

Taipei, March 10 (CNA) From Thursday, people who test positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Taiwan but are asymptomatic will be eligible for early release from hospital quarantine if they meet certain criteria, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said the new policy contains two parts -- one for people who have had confirmed COVID-19 cases abroad, and one for those with no history of the disease who test positive at the end of their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The first part, he said, applies to people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 abroad, and have two negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results showing they have recovered, but who test positive at any point after entering Taiwan.

Under the policy, people in this situation will be eligible for early release from hospital quarantine if they are asymptomatic, test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, and show low levels of the virus in their initial positive test and test negative or have a CT value of 34 or higher in a follow-up test conducted within three days, Chen said.

If a patient meets all these conditions, CECC infectious disease personnel will evaluate the patient to determine whether they can be safely discharged, he said.

Meanwhile, the second part of the policy concerns people without a documented COVID-19 infection abroad who test positive at the end of the mandatory 14-day quarantine at home or in a government facility.

In these cases, patients will be eligible for early release from hospital quarantine based on similar criteria, Chen said.

According to Chen, such patients must be asymptomatic, test positive for IgG antibodies and negative for IgM antibodies, show low levels of the virus in their initial positive test and test negative or have a CT value of 34 or higher in two follow-up tests taken within three days.

In both types of cases, Chen said, the CECC will closely evaluate a patient and only approve their release if it can confirm they were not recently infected and are no longer contagious.

The new policy will likely apply to a relatively small number of people. Of Taiwan's 978 confirmed cases, only 32 are currently in hospital receiving treatment, while 936 have recovered and 10 have died, according to CECC statistics as of Wednesday.

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

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