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Taiwan to set up testing sites at COVID-19 hotspots

ROC Central News Agency

05/19/2021 07:09 PM

Taipei, May 19 (CNA) Taiwan will begin to set up more COVID-19 testing sites at places frequented by people confirmed to have the disease, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at a press conference Wednesday.

The announcement comes as Taiwan faces its worst COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic began, with 267 new domestic cases confirmed Wednesday and more than 1,200 such cases reported over the past week.

The testing sites will be set up in places that have been frequently visited by COVID-19 patients. These locations could be the source of the infection spread, or simply places that a lot of cases visited and so have become areas of risk, said Chen, who also heads Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

However, Chen stressed that only people who have been in contact with COVID-19 cases, were in the same place at the same time as confirmed cases, or have symptoms, should be tested.

Those who do not fit these conditions should not visit the testing sites, as this will waste resources and increase their own risk of contracting the disease, Chen said.

Tests offered at these new sites will be free, said CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), adding that people can also get tested at roughly 160 hospitals across Taiwan.

Taipei has set up five testing sites in or near Wanhua District, the epicenter of the recent outbreak with over 750 related cases. These are located at the Heping and Zhongxing branches of Taipei City Hospital, West Garden Hospital, Qingcao Square and at the Bopiliao Historic Block.

The test positivity rates at these sites was 5.1 percent on Wednesday, compared with 11 percent on the day the sites were opened on May 14. From May 15-18, the rate has been 9.7, 10, 7.9 and 4.7 percent respectively.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said he thinks the dwindling test positivity rate means that asking people to stay at home has worked in terms of decreasing the spread of the disease.

In New Taipei, testing sites have been set up in the Banqiao branch of New Taipei City Hospital, Lo-Sheng Sanatorium and Hospital, Yonghe Cardinal Tien Hospital and Tucheng Municipal Hospital.

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said Wednesday that his city will set up 30 testing sites. Two of the sites, in Zhongli District's Zhongzheng Park and Longtan Administrative Park, will become operational on Thursday.

10 testing sites at hospitals in Taichung will be open from Thursday as well, city government officials said.

Testing sites have also been set up in Changhua's Xihu Township, as a couple there contracted COVID-19 after selling grapes in Taipei's Wanhua District, and in Miaoli County's Houlong Township, where the county's first domestic COVID-19 case was reported on May 17.

In Tainan, a testing site has been set up at the East District Health Station, and three more sites will become operational this week, according to the city government.

(By Sunrise Huang, Chen Yi-hsuan, Yeh Chen, Hao Hsueh-ching, Hsiao Po-yang and Chiang Yi-ching)


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