Free influenza antiviral drug available to foreigners in Taiwan amid SARS-like virus scare

106 people monitored in hospital isolation wards, with one confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the country

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In response to the escalating Wuhan coronavirus outbreak across the world, Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has given doctors a green light to prescribe government-funded influenza antiviral drugs to patients exhibiting influenza symptoms, regardless of their nationality.

The drugs in the past have been prescribed to Taiwanese patients who screen positive for the flu.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said on Friday (Jan. 24) that people who have been to Wuhan, China and developed a fever or acute respiratory infection are required to report to local health authorities, while those without symptoms should take the precautionary measure of wearing masks in enclosed areas, especially aboard public transport, after returning from the Chinese city.

At the time of publication, 106 patients are being monitored and treated in hospital isolation wards, with one confirmed case of the novel coronavirus.

The official also said that from today (Jan. 24) until the end of February, doctors will be prescribing government-funded influenza antiviral drugs to patients exhibiting flu symptoms, regardless of their nationality or potential strain of flu, in order to speed up the evaluation process for the Wuhan coronavirus and quickly determine further response and treatment.