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Home care program kicks in as Taiwan surpasses 1,500 daily cases

Screening for COVID contacts, overseas arrivals staying at home simplified to 1 rapid antigen test

(Unsplash photo)

(Unsplash photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As stated earlier this month, Taiwan will allow people with mild symptoms to isolate at home because daily COVID cases surpassed the 1,500 case milestone on Tuesday (April 19), while screening for contacts of confirmed cases and people returning from overseas will be simplified to one rapid antigen test.

Home COVID care

On April 5, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) stated that if daily COVID cases surpass 1,500 in Taiwan, the center would consider allowing people with mild symptoms to quarantine at home. CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) on Tuesday (April 19) announced 1,629 local cases, exceeding the 1,500 case threshold to implement home care for mild and asymptomatic cases nationwide.

In early April, Chen said that local epidemic prevention hotels have continued to increase in number and are being transformed into "enhanced epidemic prevention hotels," eventually raising the domestic capacity for mild or asymptomatic COVID patients to more than 15,000. Chen predicted that the combined number of beds in quarantine centers and epidemic prevention hotels should be adequate unless the daily case count exceeds 1,500, in which case the CECC would begin to allow mild and asymptomatic cases to quarantine at home.

With over 1,000 local cases reported five days in a row, quarantine centers are starting to fill up. To relieve the strain on quarantine facilities, 10 counties and cities have launched new home quarantine programs for those who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, including New Taipei City, Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Taichung City, Tainan City, Kaohsiung City, Hualien County, Yilan County, Keelung City, and Hsinchu City.

Now that the country has surpassed 1,500 daily cases, the remaining counties and cities that have not activated home isolation schemes are now required to do so within one week.

Home quarantine/isolation

Meanwhile, as the number of people placed in home isolation and quarantine expands, Chen said that after consulting with experts, the testing rules for people in home isolation and quarantine have been adjusted.

Beginning on Wednesday (April 20), close contacts of confirmed cases who enter home isolation and people arriving from overseas and undergoing home quarantine must observe the following rules:

People who enter home isolation after being listed as a contact of a COVID case must undergo a rapid antigen test or PCR test. If the rapid antigen test result is positive, a PCR test must be administered to confirm the COVID infection.

In addition, four rapid antigen tests previously required over the course of 10 days of quarantine and seven days of self-health monitoring for people arriving from overseas will be reduced to one rapid antigen test on the 10th day of quarantine. As for people undergoing isolation as contacts of COVID cases, the five tests required during the 10 days of isolation and seven days of self-health monitoring will be reduced to one rapid antigen test on the 10th day of isolation.

However, children under the age of two in home isolation or quarantine must undergo a PCR test. If people have difficulties using the rapid antigen test, they can contact health department personnel to assist them in administering the test.