Taiwan leading public health expert urges mass testing of all foreign visitors

Chan Chang-chuan also concerned about opening doors to foreign visitors seeking medical care

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Chan Chang-chuan.

Chan Chang-chuan. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Foreign visitors seeking medical care will be permitted to enter Taiwan under certain circumstances starting Aug. 1, but a leading public health expert expressed worries that the opening up would increase pressure on the existing healthcare system.

Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權), dean of National Taiwan University’s College of Public Health (CPH), suggested that the policy of opening up to foreign visitors seeking medical care should be carefully reviewed and discreetly executed.

Speaking at a media briefing on Tuesday (July 28), Chan urged the government to implement mass screenings on all those who return from abroad after reports that a Japanese student and a Thai worker tested positive for the coronavirus after returning home from Taiwan.

"It represents a growing risk of the presence of asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 in our communities," he said.

"There is also a need to transport foreign students and migrant workers to group quarantine facilities to await test results upon their arrival," he continued, "as there is a difficulty in carrying out phone tracking on some migrant workers due to insufficient contact information."

Chan called for a quick plan to prevent cross-contamination, as the pandemic is expected to peak between December and May on the backdrop of belated progress on a locally-developed vaccine.