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Taiwan mulls extending quarantine for flight crews

Vaccination key to limiting recent domestic cluster: Health minister

Crew members from China Airlines

Crew members from China Airlines (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Tuesday (May 4) that officials are considering extending quarantine requirements for crew members of Taiwanese airlines but that vaccination is key to containing the recent domestic cluster.

With the number of COVID-19 cases linked to China Airlines increasing to 28, Chen said experts are weighing the possibility of extending the length of quarantines for flight crews of Taiwanese carriers. They are currently required to undergo three days of home isolation followed by eleven days of self-health monitoring after entering Taiwan.

Due to the nature of their work, it would be challenging to place all crew members in quarantine for more than seven days, Chen explained. He added that a 14-day requirement would likely force China Airlines out of business.

The minister said the health authorities will meet with national airlines to discuss ways to continue operations while ensuring the safety of the community. He also expressed concern over the risk of airline staff receiving false negative and positive COVID-19 test results.

Meanwhile, Chen emphasized that the key to limiting the domestic outbreak is to vaccinate as many crew members as possible. He said the main goal right now is to continue the airlines' international cargo services.