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Taiwan ends PCR test rule

People undergoing home isolation, home quarantine, or self-health monitoring need only take rapid antigen test

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(Unsplash photo)

(Unsplash photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As COVID cases surge across Taiwan and emergency rooms become overwhelmed with people wanting to get tested, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that multiple categories no longer need to take a PCR test and that for them, a rapid antigen test will suffice, beginning next week.

At a press conference on Thursday (May 5), CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that it had revised its definition of a COVID-19 case: a positive result from a rapid antigen test will be enough to confirm an infection, starting on May 12. Chen said this applies to those undergoing home isolation (contacts of cases), home quarantine, and self-health monitoring.

Chen emphasized that those who test positive with such at-home rapid test kits are not allowed to venture outside their homes. He said that people in these categories are no longer obligated to go to an emergency room or testing station to receive a PCR test.

The CECC chief said that those who receive a positive result from a rapid antigen test can use the "Healthy Good Friends" (健康益友) app or contact their local health department to arrange for a telemedicine or videoconference consultation with a physician to confirm their rapid test result for evaluation and notification of authorities. Follow-up consultations will be handled by the local health department in accordance with the "principles of treatment and triage of confirmed cases."

Chen reminded those with positive rapid test results to undergo treatment at home or another designated place for home care or isolation. If there is no consensus or there are doubts about their rapid screening result, people who have tested positive or physicians making the assessment can then notify the health department to arrange for a PCR test.