Taiwan braces for typhoon Mitag

Robie de Guzman   •   October 1, 2019   •   470

People struggle with the wind as they cross the street under the rain as typhoon Mitag is expected to hit northern Taiwan, in Keelung, Taiwan, 30 September 2019. EPA-EFE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

Taiwan shut down its financial markets and ordered schools closed on Monday (September 30) as a typhoon approached its north-eastern coast, while airlines cancelled more than 150 flights amid warnings of floods and high winds.

Typhoon Mitag, categorised by Taiwan’s weather bureau at the second-strongest typhoon level, was expected to approach the coast of Yilan county with maximum winds of 162 kmph (100 mph) on Monday night.

It was moving across the ocean in a north-north-westerly direction at 25 kmph (15 mph), weather officials said, and could gain strength as it approaches the island.

About 12,000 soldiers were on standby amid fears of floods and storm surge, preparing villages for flood waters with truck-loads of sand bags.

More than 150 flights and ferry services were cancelled, while several highways across the island were shut amid fears of landslides and floods.

After passing over Taiwan, the typhoon was expected to approach China’s eastern city of Shanghai on Tuesday, forecasts showed. (Reuters)

(Production: Fabian Hamacher)

Taiwan lifts facility-based quarantine for arriving travelers from the Philippines

Marje Pelayo   •   November 5, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Travelers arriving from the Philippines will no longer be forced to stay in a quarantine facility once they land in Taiwan, the country’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday (November 4).

Starting Monday (November 9), all passengers arriving from the Philippines may undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine and one-week-self health management at home as announced.

The agency further announced that the government will also stop requiring a COVID-19 test at the end of the quarantine period once the traveler from the Philippines shows no symptoms of the disease.

The easing of restrictions was based on the recorded slowdown in COVID-19 infections in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the agency stressed that travelers from the Philippines who develop symptoms of COVID-19 before arrival to Taiwan must inform health authorities of their condition upon arrival as they will be required to have a COVID-19 test if necessary.

Starting November 9, only those passengers who will show symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days prior to their arrival to Taiwan will be quarantined in a government-managed facility as they will be given two COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests within a 24 hours interval.

They will only be allowed to quarantine at home of at a hotel if both tests yield negative results.

Taiwan requires mandatory quarantine for travelers from PH starting August 12

Marje Pelayo   •   August 11, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The government of Taiwan imposed a new quarantine policy for travelers arriving from the Philippines starting Wednesday (August 12). 

The country’s Health Ministry announced the new regulation on Sunday (August 9) prompted by the rising number of imported coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases from the Philippines, according to the latest report of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The CECC reported that five percent of all arrivals from the Philippines between July 16 to August 8 tested positive for COVID-19 in comparison with only 0.03 percent for those coming from other parts of the world.

Under the new regulation, all travelers from the Philippines will be transported upon arrival to official quarantine locations to serve the 14-day mandatory quarantine period. 

This applies to Taiwanese citizens, resident permit holders, migrant workers, international students, and diplomatic officials. 

The 14-day stay in the quarantine facility will  incur a fee of NT$1,500 equivalent to US$51 (P2,500) per day except for  Taiwanese citizens and resident permit holders whose expenses will be shouldered by the government. MNP (with reports from Amiel Pascual)

Taiwan reports 4 of 5 new COVID-19 cases came from the Philippines

Marje Pelayo   •   July 29, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported on Tuesday (July 28) that it has recorded five new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among travelers who arrived in the country on Sunday (July 26).

This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan to 467 since the start of the pandemic early this year. 

Out of 467 positive cases, 21 are imported so far.

Of the five new cases, all took the same flight on July 26, four were from the Philippines and one returned from Hong Kong, according to CECC.

The CECC identified the patients as follows:

  • Male (over 50y/o)
    • He visited the Philippines for work in March. He returned to Taiwan on July 26 with a slightly elevated temperature at the airport. After the test, he was confirmed positive on July 28.
  • Male (over 30y/o)
    • He visited the Philippines for work in January. He noticed abnormality in his sense of smell and taste and sought medical attention in the Philippines on June 16. He took a COVID-19 test the same day, but he tested negative.  He returned to Taiwan on July 26 where he voluntarily reported his previous symptoms to airport quarantine officers who then arranged his COVID-19 testing. His test yielded positive results and was confirmed on July 28.
  • Male/Female (both over 70y/o)
    • A couple in their 70s who traveled to the Philippines to visit their relatives in January. The two cases returned to Taiwan on July 26. The male patient was asymptomatic while the female patient reported her symptoms to airport quarantine officers before boarding and upon entry to Taiwan. After COVID-19 testing was undertaken, they were taken to a quarantine facility. They were confirmed positive on July 28.
  • Male (over 30y/o) 
    • He traveled to Hong Kong for work in January and returned to Taiwan on July 26. He voluntarily reported his symptoms to airport quarantine officers who then arranged his COVID-19 testing and he was confirmed positive on July 28. 

All five cases are currently in isolation in a hospital for medical treatment.

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