TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese businessman has been fined NT$100,000 for stopping by a dentist when he was supposed to be in quarantine.
A Taiwanese businessman surnamed Li (李) returned from China in July to make funeral arrangements for his sister. Since he had to make an emergency trip, the requirement that he provide a negative nucleic acid test result for the Wuhan coronavirus was waived on the condition he underwent testing once he arrived in Taiwan.
While undergoing quarantine, he applied with the Changhua County Public Health Bureau to pay for a coronavirus test at a hospital emergency room. Once he received permission to leave his quarantine to undergo the coronavirus test, he rode his scooter to the hospital.
After receiving the test, he left the hospital at about 10:20 a.m., and according to regulations, he should have gone to his quarantine location. However, halfway home, he claimed his "lips were uncomfortable," and he decided to stop by a dentist's office, reported Liberty Times.
Some 30 minutes later, he finally returned to the quarantine facility. After receiving a report of activity by his National Health Insurance (NHI) card, the health department discovered that he had made the unauthorized detour.
The health department determined that Li had violated Articles 48 and 58 of the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防制法) and Article 15 of the "Special Act for Prevention, Relief and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens" (嚴重特殊傳染性肺炎防治及紓困振興特別條例) by leaving his place of quarantine without authorization, but within two hours. Therefore, officials determined he should be given a fine of NT$100,000 to be issued by the Changhua Branch of the Ministry of Justice's Administrative Enforcement Agency.
When Li was notified of the fines, he pleaded that he was innocent because he had only stopped to see a dentist on his way home and went directly to his quarantine immediately afterward. He believed he should not be fined because the situation was different from incidents in which people violated their quarantine by venturing out without permission.
He claimed that if the health department had dispatched a person to accompany him on his trip to the hospital, he would not have unintentionally violated the quarantine rules by stopping by the dentist.
However, after the Changhua Branch explained that his deviation from his originally approved itinerary was a fineable offense, he finally agreed to pay the fine. The Changhua Branch reminded the public that regulations on quarantine and home isolation stipulate that if a person has a fever or other physical discomfort, they should take the initiative to contact the health department or dial 1922 and seek medical treatment as soon as possible.