TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In response to a sudden increase in local coronavirus cases, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Friday (May 14) announced four rapid testing centers will be set up in the city and emphasized that undocumented migrant workers need not worry about their legal status if they wish to be tested for the coronavirus.
Thursday afternoon, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced three additional COVID-19 cases associated with a number of tea parlors in Taipei's Wanhua District. That evening, Ko announced on Facebook that two patients at Taipei City Hospital's Heping Branch had also tested positive for the virus.
During a press conference Friday morning (May 14), Ko said there may be other undetected cases in Wanhua. Therefore, rapid screening stations have been set up in the Zhongxing and Heping branches of Taipei City Hospital as well as West Garden Hospital and the Bopiliao area.
Those who should monitor themselves for symptoms and consider rapid testing include people who have been to Wanhua since April 15, particularly staff and customers at tea parlors and people who have sought treatment for fever or respiratory symptoms at hospitals or pharmacies in the district.
Ko stressed that he has issued an "amnesty order" for undocumented foreign migrant workers wishing to apply for treatment or to be tested for the coronavirus. The mayor promised that such persons will not be deported for seeking treatment or tests.
In addition, he said that social workers will assist in screening homeless people, foreign spouses, and people in high-risk groups. In order to avoid any gaps in the screening of the general population, Health Minister and CECC Head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) has said that undocumented persons will not face prosecution for coming forward for testing.
In addition to PCR testing, the rapid screening stations will provide rapid antigen tests capable of yielding results in 15 minutes, while the PCR tests will take one to two days to generate results, Ko stated.
He said people who have upper respiratory tract symptoms and who think they could have the virus can be screened but cautioned, "Don't just come for peace of mind." He pointed out that the virus is not detectable in asymptomatic persons during the incubation period.