High Covid rate in arriving passengers, new Covid testing rules
Health officials are seeing a high positivity rate among passengers arriving in Taiwan on long-haul flights.
Health official Wang Bi-sheng says of the 253 passengers that arrived in Taiwan before 10:30 AM today, 17 tested positive for Covid-19, with a positivity rate of 6.7%.
Wang says it's higher than he expected and that they're working to speed up the process of testing all passengers flying here from the United States, Europe, the Middle-east, Australia and New Zealand.
Today is the first day that all passengers will undergo testing upon arrival before they start quarantine.
They must wait at the airport for results and those who test positive are directly sent to the hospital. Previously passengers would take a PCR test and then go to quarantine hotels to wait for the results, which usually takes 48 hours.
Wang says this Friday will be the peak of travelling for the Lunar New Year holidays with some 4,200 passengers arriving in Taoyuan, adding that health authorities are making all necessary preparations.
Passengers arriving from other regions will continue to follow the current protocols, which call for passengers to take designated vehicles directly to a quarantine facility immediately after getting a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
During his press briefing, Health Minister Chen Shih Chung says they are hoping passengers won't have to wait more than 40 minutes for their results to come.
Tests will be conducted in a separate area which will be disinfected regularly.
Those who receive a positive result will have their passports and other entry documents inspected by specially designated airport workers.
The CECC says they will then be taken to the hospital by ambulance for further testing and treatment.
It is hoped that the new rules will lower the possibility of infection faced by airport personnel, taxi drivers tasked with taking arrivals to quarantine facilities, and workers at quarantine facilities.
In other Covid news, the Taipei City government has confirmed 3 cases of Covid-19 in the city. Two of the new patients are nurses at a local hospital, while a third patient is the boyfriend of one of the nurses.
Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-shan says all contacts are being tested, and over two dozen people have been placed in quarantine.
Meanwhile, in Taoyuan City, Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan says test results from two schools in Taoyuan have come back negative for Covid-19 so far.
Two elementary schools in the Zhongli district were closed to in-person classes on Monday, after two students tested positive.
One of the students belongs to the same family as an infected airport worker.
The schools will remain closed for a total of fourteen days as a precaution.