Cluster of 15 coronavirus infections linked to hospital forces Taiwan to quarantine 5,000World | 24 Jan 2021 10:28 pm
Patients discharged from a hospital in Taoyuan in Taiwan where there have been 15 domestic coronavirus infections to date, as well as their close contacts, will have to be quarantined until the 14th day after their release, the Central Epidemic Command Center said Sunday.
The new measure is being taken to prevent a potential community spread of the disease, the center said, CNA reports.
At an emergency press conference Sunday evening, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who heads the CECC, said that the new quarantine requirements apply to patients discharged from Taoyuan General Hospital between January 6 and 19.
People who looked after patients at the hospital, such as caregivers or relatives, as well as those who live with either the patients or their carers, will also have to be quarantined, Chen said.
They will be tested at the end of the quarantine period and required to follow self-health management protocols for seven days afterward, Chen said.
For some patients in this group, such as those who were discharged on January 6, 14 days have already elapsed after they have been discharged. These patients will only have to follow self-health management protocols and receive a coronavirus test, according to the CECC.
Besides discharged patients and their contacts, the CECC's expanded quarantine plan also includes those who were in contact with a coronavirus patient confirmed earlier Sunday.
The patient is a man in his 60s who visited numerous doctors before testing positive. All those who were in contact with him at various medical facilities will have to be quarantined for 14 days, Chen said.
They will be tested for once they have completed their quarantine and will be required to follow self-health management protocols for seven days afterwards, Chen said.
The CECC expects that 5,000 people will have to go into quarantine as a result of the new measures, he added.
According to Chen, health authorities have already begun to contact people who fall under these criteria. Those who have not yet been contacted should stay at home and wait for the health authorities to notify them, or call the 1922 hotline directly.
In addition to those required to quarantine, all staff members and patients who had been to the hospital since Jan. 6 will be instructed to follow self-health management protocols, Chen said.
The new measures were announced the same day as Taiwan recorded two new infections in the hospital cluster. The CECC said it was not yet known how the two patients picked up the infection.
Prior to these measures, only confirmed contacts of coronavirus patients at the hospital were required to be quarantined.
To date, there have been 15 reported infections linked to the hospital, including two doctors, four nurses, one migrant caregiver, three family members of two of the nurses, and two hospital patients and their three family members.-Photo: CNA