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Visits to hospitals, care facilities suspended around Taiwan

2022-01-25
Focus Taiwan
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Visits to hospitals, care facilities suspended around Taiwan
Visits to hospitals, care facilities suspended around Taiwan

Taipei, Jan. 24 (CNA) A previous suspension of visits to hospital inpatients and long-term care facility residents in four northern cities has been extended to all of Taiwan due to rising COVID-19 case numbers, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Monday.

Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at the CECC's press briefing that visits to such places will not be allowed in principle except under special cases.

The decision, Chen said, was made in response to the increased risk of potential community transmission around Taiwan caused by the recent rise in domestic COVID-19 cases.

For those who are granted special permission to make visits, the same guidelines as those announced on Jan. 9 for Keelung, Taipei, New Taipei, and Taoyuan will apply.

Hospital visits

They will need to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days prior to the visit, to be paid for by the government if the visitor has received a second vaccine jab at least 14 days before the visit, Chen said.

Otherwise, visitors will need to pay for the test themselves.

If a visitor was previously confirmed to have the disease, the test will not be required if the individual is out of COVID-19 related isolation and the visit is made within three months following the onset of symptoms, Chen said.

For patients admitted to a hospital, they should take a COVID-19 test paid for by the government within three days before they are admitted. However, those who are admitted in emergencies will be tested on arrival instead.

A patient staying at hospital will be allowed to have one caregiver, who will have to present a negative COVID-19 test taken in the three days before the hospital stay begins, regardless of the person's vaccination status, according to Chen.

Caregivers can get tested on arrival if the individuals they are caring for are admitted to a hospital in an emergency scenario.

Long-term care facilities

For individuals allowed to visit a long-term care facility, Chen said they will also need to present a negative self-paid COVID-19 test taken within the three previous days.

Chen also outlined several new measures targeting new residents about to move into long-term care facilities.

If more than 90 percent of long-term care staffers and 80 percent of residents at a facility are fully vaccinated, those moving in simply have to avoid participating in group activities for 14 days from the day they check-in, Chen said.

If these percentages are below 90 percent and 80 percent, however, new residents will need to be quarantined there for two weeks starting from the day after they move in, he said.

If a new resident in quarantine opts to get a self-paid COVID-19 test on the seventh day of quarantine, and it comes back negative, they will not have to be quarantined for the remaining seven days.

But they will still have to avoid group activities and then be tested again on the 14th day.

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