Pandemic policies adjusted amid Covid surge
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) says coronavirus patients in home quarantine and case contacts isolating at home are now allowed to go to hospital themselves if they require emergency medical assistance.People in those groups had previously had to wait for approval from the local health authority.
The new guidelines apply to three groups: patients who are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms and have been approved to quarantine at home, individuals in isolation due to close contact with a patient, and new arrivals to Taiwan who are all required to quarantine.
The CECC says in the event that they require medical assistance while in quarantine, patients can call their local health department, which will arrange for them to go to a hospital via a designated taxi.Individuals can make their own way to the hospital on foot, drive, or have someone living with them drive them.
The new guidelines have been issued following the death of a two-year-old boy earlier this week, which led to complaints about how health authorities have been handling responses to calls for medical assistance.
In addition, Taiwan's northern cities are adjusting epidemic prevention procedures to adapt to the recent surge in Covid-19 cases.Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je says that due to the continued surge in new local cases, publishing contact-tracing updates has become less helpful, and so the previously-visited sites of cases will no longer be announced.Mayor Ko says that amid yesterday's 471 cases in Taipei, epidemic prevention procedures will also be simplified from now on, and the scope of quarantine and isolation procedures should be shortened over time.New local case analysis will focus on the two days before infection, instead of four, and contact analysis will now focus only on cohabitants, classmates, and people who have spent long periods of time together in confined spaces.
Meanwhile, as Taoyuan has reported 387 new local cases today, Taoyuan Mayor ChengWen-tsan says that the number of people living in isolation in Taoyuan will soon exceed 10,000, a majority of whom are aged 18 to 64.Amid the spike in isolated adults, Mayor Cheng says the Taoyuan Department of Education has begun planning for the quick-screen testing of elementary school students in the city, and is expected to begin testing on Tuesday, 26 April.Mayor Cheng notes that approximately 3,000 people are tested for Covid-19 each day, with some days seeing as many as 7,000 tests, and about 190,000 people having been tested in Taoyuan this year.
This comes as the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed 2,386 new domestic cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday.Health Minister Chen Shih-chung says there were eight moderate cases, and one patient with severe symptoms, a woman in her 70s, who has a history of chronic illness. She is currently receiving emergency medical care in hospital.
The health minister predicts Taiwan could be seeing 10,000 daily domestic coronavirus cases by the end of this month. Chen says he sees the daily case load as likely to keep rising.Although Chen says the pandemic will spread on a large scale, he's also stressed that health officials are seeking to slow the spread by calling on the public to "remain cautious when outside of their home, wear a face mask, and maintain socialdistancing."