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3 categories of people no longer need PCR test in Taiwan

People in home isolation, home quarantine, and self-initiated epidemic prevention need only take rapid antigen test



TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Starting on Thursday (May 12), three categories of people no longer need to take a PCR as a rapid antigen test will suffice, with a positive result being considered an official COVID case.

At a press conference on 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.

On Wednesday (May 11), Chen said people who take a rapid antigen test during the three days of home isolation, four days of self-initiated epidemic prevention, or seven days of home quarantine have five steps they should follow to report their positive test results.

Chen said that the first step is to arrange for a telemedicine or videoconference consultation with a physician to confirm their rapid test result. Second, the doctor will confirm whether the diagnosis is a positive result on the rapid test.

If the diagnosis is that the test was positive, the result will be reported via the patient's National Health Insurance (NHI) card and uploaded into the system. The patient then must remain in their residence and wait for the local health department to contact them.

Lastly, the local health department will arrange for the patient to isolate in a designated location according to regulations and issue a quarantine notice.

If the doctor is not able to confirm that the result of the rapid antigen test, the local health department must be notified to arrange for a PCR test. Chen said that after people in these three categories receive a positive result on a rapid antigen test, they must write their name and date on the test device, place their NHI card next to it, and take a photo.

The patient must upload the photo when making an appointment for telemedicine or videoconference consultation and show the positive result on the test device to the physician.

When asked by the media if people in these three categories test positive on a rapid antigen kit but are unable to make an appointment for a video consultation, whether they should directly go to a hospital for a PCR test. Chen responded by saying that people who are undergoing home isolation or home quarantine are being monitored by an electric fence and are not allowed to arbitrarily step out.

If the doctor cannot verify that the rapid test result is positive, the health department can arrange for a PCR test as long as the means of transportation to the testing site is appropriate, said Chen.

Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said that in the future, the diagnosis of positive results on rapid antigen tests for those three categories will mainly be confirmed by clinic physicians and home care teams nearby. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, the patient will be directly designated as a COVID case and medicine can be prescribed, greatly speeding up the process.

In addition, Lo said health departments have asked health clinics within their jurisdiction to open more outpatient clinics to serve people who tested positive with rapid antigen kits. People in home isolation can also contact local care centers to ask which clinic or hospital is responsible for video consultations, said Lo.

Updated : 2022-05-23 20:26 GMT+08:00