TAIPEI (The China Post) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) announced on Monday that starting Jan. 11, inbound passengers on cross-country flights will be given PCR tests as soon as the plane lands.
According to the CECC, if the results are positive, the passengers will be transported to a hospital immediately to limit the possible spread of the virus into the community.
They explained that passengers will be tested before entering the nation so that those who test positive will be transported to a quarantine center without further mingling with others.
Meanwhile, those who test positive will be able to go through customs and head to their pre-designated quarantine center with the rest of the passengers.
To this, Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) voiced his support for the policy, adding that it will surely stop more than two-thirds of confirmed infections, and can reduce the pressure on epidemic-prevention personnel and health care systems.
He pointed out that 68% of the confirmed imported cases so far had tested negative in their first PCR test; however, if the infections were detected before they went through customs, it could effectively prevent further spread in quarantine hotels.
Ko added that as quarantine hotels are not 100% secure if there are too many inbound passengers who have been infected, it is likely to cause a breach in Taiwan’s epidemic-prevention efforts as they await their test results.
In addition, Ko also spoke in response to the recent confirmed cases of disease-prevention taxi drivers, pointing out that there should still be a separation between designated taxi drivers and regular drivers so that they don’t mingle and risk the spread of the virus.
However, he also remarked that taxi drivers also have to make a living, so asking disease-prevention drivers to pick up airport passengers full-time may not work as they may only have two to three customers per day, which wouldn’t be enough to sustain their business.
Therefore, Ko advised the central government to consider a new design to both ensure the safety of the community and protect the rights of the front-line taxi drivers.