Taipei, May 16 (CNA) Starting Tuesday, people who have received three shots of a COVID-19 vaccine will no longer have to isolate for three days if someone in their household tests positive for the disease, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
Instead, there will be no isolation period, but the household members will be required to conduct seven days of "self-initiated epidemic prevention," during which they will be allowed to go outside, provided that they obtain a negative rapid antigen test result no more than one day before, the CECC said.
During the seven-day period, they will be permitted to go to work, but not school, and take public transportation, the CECC said. Other types of activities such as dining at restaurants, participating in large-scale events, or visiting crowded places will not be allowed, the CECC said.
The new rule, termed the "0+7" plan, will allow for medical resources to be concentrated more on patients with moderate to severe symptoms, the CECC said at its daily press briefing.
Meanwhile, household contacts who have not yet received a third vaccine dose will still have to follow the "3+4" isolation protocol, which means isolating at home for three days, followed by four days of "self-initiated epidemic prevention," the CECC said.
Under both the "0+7" and "3+4" plans, household contacts of a COVID-19 infected patient will receive the same number of free rapid tests, the CECC said.
Adults and university students will receive three free tests each, while elementary and secondary school students will be given two, and children under school age will not be eligible to receive any, according to the CECC.
The "0+7" protocol will take effect Tuesday and will not be applied retroactively to those who are already in isolation, the CECC said.
To date, 85.95 percent of Taiwan's population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, 80.82 percent has gotten at least two doses, while 63 percent has received a third shot, CECC data shows.
In a statement issued Monday evening, the CECC said individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be able to report to health authorities that their co-habitants have received a third vaccine shot and wish to follow the “0+7” protocol through its contact-tracing system.
They will receive a text with a link to fill in their information after they test positive and information on their co-habitants, and the system can also be accessed through the National Health Insurance Administration app, the CECC said.
The CECC added that people can still choose to follow the previous “3+4” isolation plan even if they have received a third vaccine shot.