New testing for long-haul flights confirms 4 infections so far

TAIPEI (The China Post) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) began conducting PCR testing for long-haul flights at the airport upon arrival on Tuesday to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus into the community.

According to local Chinese-language media reports, a China Airlines flight that arrived at 3:59 a.m. from Australia had four people among the 41 passengers on board test positive for the virus.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) remarked that the testing process was quite smooth for now but expressed concerns that when arrival planes increase, the testing process may become rushed and manpower may need to be increased.

He confirmed that there were positive test results from the first long-haul flight to Taiwan since the new regulations were announced, and pointed out that it means the vetting process is working. Afterward, Chen remarked that relevant units will discuss together how to better the testing process so that long waits can be avoided.

The CECC had announced on Monday that starting Jan. 11, passengers on long-haul flights from Europe, the United States, the Middle East, New Zealand, and Australia would need to be tested as soon as they land in Taiwan and may not pass through customs until their results are out.

This means that those who test positive for the COVID-19 virus can be directly transported to the nearest hospital and will prevent them from infecting others.


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