TAIPEI (CNA) — Five individuals who were confined to their homes as a precaution against the spread of the novel coronavirus epidemic have been fined for leaving their residence without permission, a Taipei health official said Tuesday.
The latest fine was imposed on a foreign national who flew to Taiwan from Guangdong province in China on Feb. 3 and was ordered to stay in “home quarantine” from Feb. 3-17, said Yu Tsan-hua (余燦華), chief of the Disease Control Division of the city’s Department of Health.
The individual, whose nationality and identity were not made public to protect the person’s privacy, went outside of their home without permission Saturday night to catch a smoke in the staircase, Yu said.
Although the person was only out of the home for six minutes, there is evidence proving that the person ignored the quarantine conditions in violation of the Communicable Disease Control Act, leading to a fine of NT$10,000 (US$333.27), Yu said.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Taiwan currently imposes three types of 14-day quarantines that vary in their level of severity.
The first, which the government calls “home isolation,” is used for individuals who have come in contact with confirmed cases of the virus.
Those under home isolation will receive health checks from Taiwanese medical authorities twice daily, and will be electronically monitored via their cell phones.
The second type, which the government calls “home quarantine,” will be applied to people who have recently traveled in or transited through China, Hong Kong or Macau.
According to the Central Epidemic Command Center, those under “home quarantine” will receive daily health-check calls from their ward chief, and will also be under electronic surveillance through their cell phones.
Individuals who violate the terms of their home isolation or quarantine can face penalties, including mandatory medical isolation and a fines ranging from NT$10,000 to NT$300,000 under the Communicable Disease Control Act.
Meanwhile, individuals with suspected cases of the coronavirus who have tested negative and met the terms for “home isolation” to be lifted, are to engage in “self-health management” for 14 days.
Individuals under “self-health management” should take their temperatures twice a day, wear a surgical face mask and minimize their time in public, and immediately report any possible symptoms to medical authorities.
As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, there have been 116 persons placed in “home isolation” and 573 in “home quarantine,” according to data from the city.
However, the city has lost contact with six of the 573 people under “home-quarantine,” who are now being looked for by the police, according to the department.
Since the novel coronavirus outbreak started in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, more than 42,000 confirmed cases of the infection have been reported in 28 countries, with more than 1,000 deaths, mostly in China.
Taiwan has so far recorded 18 confirmed cases.