Taiwan’s health minister nixes proposal to send coronavirus patients to Turtle Island

Chen Shih-chung joked putting those who evade quarantine on E. Taiwan island worthy of consideration

Turtle Island 

Turtle Island  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said on Tuesday that a proposal to isolate patients with the coronavirus or suspected symptoms on Turtle Island off the coast of Yilan County is not feasible and that such a move would turn the island into “Devil Island."

A newspaper advertisement placed Tuesday by businesspeople in the high-tech industry made the case to “develop Turtle Island into a special quarantine zone,” where people quarantined for coronavirus infection could be isolated from the rest of the world, CNA reported. Not only would those quarantined on the island be able to see Taiwan across a stretch of sea, but they would also be near National Yang-Ming University Hospital's branch in Yilan, the ad explained.

After observing that the existing quarantine stations are operating smoothly, Chen reflected on the idea of isolating people on Turtle Island. He said that even though there are no residences on the island and that a quarantine zone could be established quickly, putting the idea into practice would only turn Turtle Island into “Devil Island.”

Chen went on to say that turning the island into a special quarantine zone would not only be difficult, but transportation to and from the island is also not easy, and the quarantine might not be adequate, the report said. The minister also stated that such an undertaking would certainly not assuage people’s fear of epidemics either.

However, he said jokingly that the idea of putting those who slip out of quarantine and hang around Taiwan on the island is worthy of consideration.