Quarantine, QR code tracing and testing rules relaxed
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has further loosened its quarantine rulesfor contacts of people confirmed to be positive for the coronavirus - removing the need to take a second rapid test originally required on the third day of quarantine.
Contacts had previously been required to take two rapid tests, one on the day they were identified as a contact, and another on their third day of quarantine. But epidemic command center spokesman Zhuang Ren-xiang says the second test is no longer necessary.Contacts will now have to take a rapid test and receive a negative result before leaving their homes, on the days they go out during the four-day self-health monitoring period.
The CECC had previously required people to take a test every day during that period whether they left home or not.According to the centre spokesman, a rapid test kit consisting of five reagents will be delivered to individuals identified as being coronavirus contacts by local government officials.
However, local governments in Taipei and New Taipei are continuing to question the new "3 4" policy - saying it fails to significantly ease the burden on disease control personnel.The New Taipei City government is proposing eliminating quarantine altogether for close contacts of positive patients and allowing them to go out as long as they test negative.The CECC says it is still looking into that possibility, but it's currently believed that it's too soon to replace quarantine with rapid tests.
In related news, the quarantine period of time for flight crew will be shortened after the CECC implemented the so-called "3 4" home isolation plan yesterday.Currently all aircrew need to undergo five days of isolation plus five days of self-health management, and according to the Pilots Union, the isolation has to be done at epidemic-prevention dormitoriesif the crew can't meet the requirement of "one person one household."
The Union has threatened to stage a sit-in around the CECC to protest against what they called "discrimination against flight crew."Transport Minister Wang Kwo-tsai said today that he expects things to change very soon as he has proposed to apply the same "3 4" rules to pilots and cabin crew.Wang says the quarantine time can be even shorter if they take the rapid Covid tests more frequently. He said that the Civil Aeronautics Administration is working on the details.
In other news, CECC head Chen Shih-chung announced that the real-name registration system for venues is being discontinued effective immediately and called on the public to instead use the government's contact tracing app, the "Taiwan Social Distancing App". Figures show the app has nearly 8.2 million users so far, but the government is hoping for at least 13 million users.
Chen also announced that Taiwan's current mask regulations will be extended to 31 May. As has been the case in previous months, people must wear a mask at all times when stepping out of their homes, including when singing at KTVs. In situations where masks are not required to be worn, they should still be carried and should be worn if one is experiencing suspected Covid symptoms or cannot maintain a proper social distance from unfamiliar people.