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Taiwan to switch from home isolation to rapid testing

3-stage plan will allow people with 3 vaccine doses to skip home isolation, use rapid tests instead

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Taiwan to switch from home isolation to rapid testing

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced plans on Thursday (April 22) to replace home isolation for people who came in contact with confirmed COVID cases with rapid tests instead.

CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said with single-day local case counts exceeding 1,000 for seven consecutive days, medical personnel who have received three doses of COVID vaccines can avoid entering home isolation by undergoing rapid antigen tests instead. Chen said the rollout of the policy will come in three stages starting with medical personnel, those working in critical infrastructure, and the public last.

Chen said that within the week, the second stage of including people working in critical infrastructure and those who provide vital public services will commence. The CECC head said that the policy of switching from home isolation to rapid tests will eventually be expanded to the public, depending on the extent to which people accept the scheme.

When asked whether flight crew members and campus psychologists will be included in the list of professions exempt from home isolation, Chen said the physical and mental well-being of crew members and the necessity of home quarantine are both issues worth discussing and will be submitted to the Civil Aeronautics Administration for its input.

As for campus psychologists who are worried that the mental health of teachers and students at colleges and universities will be affected by isolation, Chen said that during a period of an extraordinarily high risk of transmission, he recommends that in-person psychological counseling services can be replaced by video conferencing. During face-to-face consultations, Chen recommended taking steps to ensure good ventilation and that participants wear masks.

Meanwhile, some experts estimated that the number of daily COVID cases may reach 10,000 by the end of April and the epidemic could peak by the end of May. Chen pointed out that recent Omicron waves in other Asian countries have lasted from one to two months and the timeline in Taiwan should be similar.