CECC relaxes quarantine testing requirements
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) says people in quarantine after being identified as a close contact of a coronavirus case and new arrivals to Taiwan, will now take a rapid antigen test instead of a PCR test at the end of their quarantine period.
Health officials say the decision to replace the PCR test with a rapid test is based on the wide availability and effectiveness of rapid tests and people can take the tests themselves in order to save the time and manpower needed to transport to a testing centre.
Individuals have to report their rapid testresults to health authorities via text, and PCR tests will be arranged for those who test positive.
Failure to comply with the new rules will result in a fine.
Other testing requirements for individuals who are required to quarantine due to close contact with a coronavirus patient remain unchanged.
That means they still have to take a PCR test at the start of the 10-day quarantine period, a rapid test on the fifth to seventh day in quarantine, and two rapid tests on the second and fourth day of the seven-day self-health management period.
In related news, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung says it's possible that coronavirus cases could reach the tens of thousands.
Chen made the statement prior to a hearing of the Legislative Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee.
And according to the health minister, although such high numbers of cases are possible, it will depend on how the domestic outbreak develops – and currently it is at the early development stage, and the overall curve of infections cannot yet be clearly identified.
Chen says the RT, or effective reproduction number, is at about 2.0, and the development of infections remains rapid.
This comes as the CECC reported 551 new domestic coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest single-day tally this year.
It marks the first time this year that the daily number of domestic infections has exceeded 500, and the 12th consecutive day they surpassed 100.
New Taipei reported the highest number of new domestic cases, with 162. That was followed by Taipei with 115, and Kaohsiung with 61 cases.
A very small number of the 4,415 domestic cases recorded so far this year have been classified as moderate infections and two as severe while the remainder, which account for just over 99% of the total, were either mild or asymptomatic.
Chen is urging people to follow disease prevention measures and stressing that "it's unnecessary to panic, but is necessary for everyone to take action."