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NTU professor calls for shortened quarantine for travelers arriving in Taiwan

Taiwan must change policy to safely connect to rest of world, says public health scholar

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File photo of a traveler at a quarantine center in Taipei.

File photo of a traveler at a quarantine center in Taipei. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Now that the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has announced the “3+4” quarantine policy for locals in contact with COVID-19 patients, it should also update its quarantine requirement for travelers arriving in Taiwan, according to public health scholar Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權).

In a Facebook post, the National Taiwan University professor compared the local-imported case count ratio between Feb. 24 (0.05) and April 25 (45.2). However, the CECC has only announced the new 3+4 quarantine requirement for locals and made no changes to the “10+7” quarantine program for inbound travelers, Chan wrote, highlighting the stark inconsistency.

He cited the CECC as saying that the 10+7 program for both locals who have been in contact with COVID patients and inbound travelers was designed with consideration for the situation in Taiwan and reference to policies adopted by other countries. The goal of the policy, which entails a 10-day quarantine and seven days of self-health management, was to connect Taiwan with the rest of the world while managing risks and maintaining a normal social and economic order.

The local case count on April 25 was 1,700 times the case count of Feb. 24, and the imported case count was 1.7 times that of Feb. 24, Chan wrote. “Under the pandemic’s new development that is more intense domestically, and as we consider ‘replacing quarantine with testing’ as a way to shorten quarantines for COVID patients and those in contact with them, don’t forget that the quarantine duration for inbound travelers should be adjusted too!”

According to Chan, the CECC should consider adopting the 3+4 quarantine requirement for returning Taiwanese nationals and foreign visitors who are vaccinated with three shots and can provide negative PCR test results before and after arriving.

“Only scientific measures can maximize the effect of public health resources and manpower used against the pandemic, allowing Taiwan, which has enforced strict border control since the spread of the virus, to quickly and safely connect with the rest of the world,” Chan concluded.