TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The cost of treating Indonesian migrant workers who tested positive for COVID-19 could exceed NT$100 million (US$3.3 million) as Taiwan continues to report imported cases from the Southeast Asian country.
As of Sunday (Dec. 16), Taiwan had recorded 133 coronavirus cases among arrivals from Indonesia, which make up the largest share of imported cases. Those imported from the U.S. come in second, comprising 116 cases out of Taiwan's total of 716.
Taiwan began vigorous testing of Indonesian laborers in late November as the pandemic ravaged the archipelagic nation. At least 60 new arrivals have been confirmed to have the virus in the past 10 days, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
The CECC previously said the average cost of COVID-19 treatment is around NT$2.1 million per patient. As most of the Indonesian cases have exhibited minor or no symptoms, this could be reduced to NT$800,000 per head, meaning the Taiwanese government would need to shoulder over NT$100 million in medical bills, wrote CNA.
The CECC has sought to assist the Indonesian authorities in PCR test certification to ensure the validity of incoming workers’ negative test results, which are required of anyone entering Taiwan after Dec. 1.
The surge in imported cases has prompted Taiwan to impose an entry ban on Indonesian migrant workers that is valid until Dec. 19. A virological assessment and lab investigation into the transmissibility of the novel virus in cases is being conducted, according to CECC.