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Taiwan bans home quarantine for airline crews to stop delta variant

CAA worried about breakthrough infections between crew members and relatives

The CAA is toughening up quarantine rules for returning airline crews. 

The CAA is toughening up quarantine rules for returning airline crews.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In an effort to stop the delta variant from entering the country, arriving airline crews will no longer be allowed to quarantine at home from Saturday (Aug. 28).

Taiwan has been spared the widespread impact of the delta variant of COVID-19 so far, with an outbreak in Pingtung County rapidly contained. However, a number of recent arrivals from overseas have been diagnosed with the potentially more dangerous version of the coronavirus.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) announced Friday (Aug. 27) that it would divide airline crews into groups depending on their level of vaccination and on whether they had done long-haul or short-haul flights, CNA reported.

All crew members returning from long-haul flights would no longer be allowed to spend their quarantine at home and instead, would have to stay at a hotel or at a company dormitory center. One of the reasons for the change was to prevent breakthrough infections between airline staff and their relatives.

The quarantine regulations for long-haul crews are divided into three groups, the CAA said. Unvaccinated staff or those whose first shot occurred fewer than 14 days before their return needed seven days of quarantine and a further seven days of strengthened self-health monitoring.

Crew members who had logged more than 14 days after their first jab needed five days of quarantine followed by nine days of stronger self-health monitoring; while long-haul crews with two vaccine doses would be subject to a PCR test the day of their arrival or the following day, with seven days of strengthened self-health monitoring.

For short-haul crew members, those who have received one shot or none should monitor their health for 14 days and take a daily PCR test, while crew members with two vaccine jabs are subject to more lenient health monitoring measures, but also accompanied by daily PCR testing.

A breakthrough infection is when a vaccinated individual becomes sick from the illness the vaccine is supposed to prevent.