Taiwan to electronically monitor potential coronavirus patients

More than 2,000 Taiwanese under home quarantine to be tracked by phone

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Electronic monitoring to be imposed on individuals under home quarantine. 

Electronic monitoring to be imposed on individuals under home quarantine.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) has announced that it will electronically monitor individuals who are under home quarantine starting Wednesday (Jan. 29) to prevent the Wuhan coronavirus from getting out of control.

After two Taiwanese citizens concealed their illness and went out earlier this week despite having just returned from Wuhan, Taiwanese health authorities believe that it is necessary to implement stricter surveillance of potential carriers of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV. With Taiwan seeing its eighth coronavirus patient and first domestic infection, the MOHW is taking cautious measures to tackle the viral outbreak.

MOHW Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said during a press conference Tuesday (Jan. 28) that more than 2,000 Taiwanese who have returned from China's Hubei Province or had close contact with confirmed victims of the coronavirus are currently under a 14-day home quarantine. He said that cell phones will be distributed to these individuals to keep track of their whereabouts and that any attempts to leave their residences will result in enforced quarantine by the authorities as well as a potential fine.

Chen added that the individuals are also expected to report daily to the MOHW starting Wednesday and that there will be irregular visits from the authorities. When asked about the possibility of individuals leaving their houses without the cell phones, Chen said that his team will be closely watching the monitoring system and will alert local police if the individuals remain stationary for a long period of time, reported CNA.

The MOHW said that individuals under home quarantine should remain at home and monitor their health for at least 14 days. They should take their temperature twice a day to see if they have a fever and watch for symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and sore throat.