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Taipei launches home care program for COVID patients

People who live in 'unsuitable conditions,' elderly without caregivers to be sent to quarantine hotels

(freepik photo)

(freepik photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Omicron infections continue to surge, Taipei launched its home care program for mild and asymptomatic COVID cases on Wednesday (April 20).

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) stated on April 5 that if daily COVID cases surpass 1,500 in Taiwan, the center would consider allowing people with mild symptoms to quarantine at home. On Tuesday (April 19), the country reported 1,626 cases, prompting the CECC to require all counties and cities to activate home isolation schemes within one week.

Participating in a video conference from home, where he is isolating due to recent contact with a confirmed case, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said the local epidemic is "just about to start." He announced that effective Wednesday, all 12 of the city's administrative districts will commence a home care program.

Ko said residents who are mild or asymptomatic can stay home unless conditions in their residence are "unsuitable" or the patient is elderly and requires additional care. In such exceptional circumstances, Ko said cases are recommended to transfer to an epidemic prevention hotel.

Deputy Spokesperson for the Taipei City Government Vivienne Wei (魏文元) reminded seniors aged 65 and over to follow CECC guidelines. Ko said pregnant women and kidney dialysis patients are suitable for transfer to epidemic prevention hotels.

Ko stated that home care had already begun on Tuesday in Xinyi, Zhongzheng, and Datong districts. The mayor warned that based on the outbreaks in South Korea and Shanghai, the number of cases will soar after reaching a turning point and that if the central government does not plan to raise the epidemic alert level, there will be a large number of infections, though there are not many severe cases now.

Citing the 32% infection rate in South Korea as an example, Ko pointed out that only 1% of Taiwan's population has been infected thus far and that an outbreak is "just about to start." He said South Korea's presidential election caused the outbreak to get out of control, adding that Taiwan also has an election this year that could become a super-spreader event.

Ko predicted the outbreak will continue for another four months and that more than 1 million confirmed COVID cases "will definitely happen."