Taiwan halves flights from UK amid mutant coronavirus outbreak

Passengers from UK must enter group quarantine facilities starting Dec. 23

Person walks past temporarily closed souvenir store on Oxford Street, during England's second coronavirus lockdown, in London, Monday, Nov. 2...

Person walks past temporarily closed souvenir store on Oxford Street, during England's second coronavirus lockdown, in London, Monday, Nov. 2... (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is cutting flights from the U.K. in half as a new strain of the Wuhan coronavirus rages that country, and starting Wednesday (Dec. 23), all passengers arriving from there must enter group quarantine facilities.

A new strain of the virus, identified as B.1.1.7, has reared its head in the U.K. and been found to be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the original virus that came out of Wuhan, China, last year. On Monday (Dec. 21), the U.K. reported 35,928 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day rise in the country since the pandemic began.

In response, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday (Dec. 22) announced that in order to "avoid adverse impacts caused by the developments," the number of passenger flights between Taipei and London will be decreased by 50 percent effective Dec. 23. All remaining flights will be operated by China Airlines, Taiwan's national carrier, while EVA Air flights scheduled for this week have been canceled.

The CECC stated that the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) will coordinate with Taiwan's two major airlines to alternate subsequent flights in the coming weeks. In addition, beginning Dec. 23, passengers arriving in Taiwan from the U.K. and those who have been in the U.K. in the past 14 days are required to enter group facilities, where they will undergo their two-week quarantine upon entering the country.

Before these passengers complete their quarantines, they must undergo testing for COVID-19. They will not be allowed to "enter the community after obtaining a negative test result and conducting the 7-day self-health management."

If airlines are not able to provide dormitories that comply with epidemic prevention measures, arrangements can be made for flight crews and cabin crews to stay at quarantine hotels.

The CECC reminds the public that if they experience a fever, cough, and other symptoms of discomfort when arriving from abroad, they should notify airport and port quarantine personnel and cooperate with epidemic prevention measures. If they experience suspicious symptoms during their quarantine, they are advised to contact the health department or a local healthcare center and avoid public transportation.

When seeking medical treatment, people should be sure to inform the doctor of their travel history, occupation, and contact history, and compile a TOCC (travel, occupation, contact, and cluster) report for timely diagnosis and notification. For more information, visit the CDC website or call the toll-free epidemic prevention hotline 1922 (or 0800-001922).

Updated : 2021-01-28 03:47 GMT+08:00