New Taipei curtails hospital patient visits over coronavirus fears

In addition to closing cultural and sports venues, New Taipei is controlling access to medical facilities

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New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi (New Taipei City Government photo)

New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi (New Taipei City Government photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) announced on Friday (March 20) a partial ban on visiting patients at the city’s hospitals as part of its measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmissions.

The partial ban will be applied to 53 hospitals and 142 nursing homes in the most populous city in Taiwan. Individuals planning to see a doctor at these hospitals are also prohibited from bringing with them more than one companion, reported Newtalk.

For intensive care units, restrictions will be imposed on the hours available for visiting the sick, each session limited to two people. Video visitation is advised at the 214 long-term care, retirement, and rehabilitation institutions, and visits to these facilities, in designated areas, will have to be conducted in under 30 minutes.

The tougher entry controls have been introduced to better protect the vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak. The new rules are intended to protect, in particular, the elderly and patients with chronic health conditions, said the mayor.

New Taipei, with a population of 4 million, has adopted some of the strictest measures for disease prevention. Beginning on Friday, museums, sports centers, and libraries in the municipality will shut their doors to curb the spread of the pandemic.