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Taiwan loosens COVID digital fence, restrictions on close contacts

Measures to take effect from midnight

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People line up outside a pharmacy Saturday to buy COVID home test kits. 
People line up outside a hospital emergency ward to undergo COVID tests. 

People line up outside a pharmacy Saturday to buy COVID home test kits.  (CNA photo)

People line up outside a hospital emergency ward to undergo COVID tests.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Digital fence measures designed to track down quarantine evaders will be loosened, while home quarantine orders would only target live-in relatives and friends, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Saturday (May 7).

The changes will take effect at 12 a.m Sunday (May 8). Earlier on Saturday, the CECC announced a single-day record of 46,377 local infections, taking the country's total since the beginning of the pandemic past the 300,000 mark.

Taiwan attracted international attention with the introduction of its digital fence program in 2020. The system identifies a person’s whereabouts based on the location of their mobile phone in relation to the nearest cell tower. If a person under quarantine leaves home, an alert will be triggered.

The CECC said Saturday that close contacts isolating at home for three days, followed by four days of self-help monitoring, will no longer be covered by the digital fence system. The program will only continue for those actually confirmed as COVID cases during their isolation period.

In another change, the home isolation requirement for close contacts will only apply to live-in relatives or friends and to roommates at school dormitories, but no longer to colleagues at work or classmates, the CECC announced.

In addition, starting Sunday (May 8), people testing positive for COVID who have no or light symptoms will be allowed to end their home isolation after seven days without a new test, followed by seven days of self-health monitoring, CNA reported.

The CECC said this is possible because when it comes to the Omicron variant, asymptomatic cases have been found to be no longer infectious after seven days, though it emphasized the relaxation of the measure would not be retroactive to cases diagnosed before May 8.


Updated : 2022-05-24 08:24 GMT+08:00