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All arrivals to Taiwan to be tested for COVID before quarantine ends: CECC

ROC Central News Agency

06/22/2021 06:03 PM

Taipei, June 22 (CNA) All travelers arriving in Taiwan will be tested for COVID-19 on the last day of their mandatory 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Tuesday.

The new regulation, which takes effect immediately, is aimed at preventing the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, the CECC said.

Prior to Tuesday, travelers entering Taiwan were not required to be tested unless they showed COVID-19 symptoms on arrival or during their 14-day quarantine period.

Taiwan's borders are closed to all arrivals, except for citizens and legal residents, and the country is currently under a Level 3 COVID-19 alert, which extends at least until June 28.

First detected in India, the Delta variant is likely to become the world's dominant strain of COVID-19, because of its "significantly enhanced transmissibility," according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Taiwan, however, genetic sequencing carried out by the CECC in a sample of 278 COVID-19 cases since last October had found only five infections caused by the Delta variant, all of which were imported, CECC official Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) said at a press briefing on June 16.

The most prevalent strain in Taiwan was the Alpha variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom and was found in 199 of the 278 sample cases in Taiwan, according to Lo.

He said the risk of household transmission is 64 percent higher with the Delta variant than with the Alpha, and it also raises the risk of hospitalization.

(By Chen Chieh-ling, Chang Ming-hsuan, Chiang Hui-chung and Joseph Yeh)

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