Ordinary hotels to be allowed to serve as quarantine venues: CECC

An employee at a quarantine hotel disinfects a hotel room (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Ordinary hotels will be able in the future to accept individuals who need to be quarantined to accommodate heavy demand at the current level of arrivals, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Monday.

Taiwan sees up to 2,000 new arrivals per day who need a place to stay during their mandatory 14-day quarantine, with an average of close to 20,000 people in quarantine every day, said CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) at a press conference in Taipei.

“There are not enough quarantine hotels to satisfy demand,” Chuang said.

At present, almost all people who enter Taiwan, whether Taiwanese or foreign nationals, are required to be quarantined for 14 days to prevent COVID-19 from being brought in from other countries.

The only exceptions are short-term business travelers from low or medium-risk countries who only need to stay in quarantine five to seven days.

Most Taiwanese can be quarantined in their own homes, but for those who cannot and non-foreign-residents without places to stay, they are generally placed in quarantine hotels.

To meet the growing demand, the CECC decided that ordinary hotels could fill the gap as long they receive approval after submitting an application and their disease prevention plans, Chuang said.

The CECC has drafted regulations for ordinary hotels wishing to accept quarantine guests, covering cleaning and disinfection measures, food services, the management of guests to keep them from leaving their rooms or having visitors, and how to keep regular guests separate from quarantine guests, Chuang said.

The proposal is currently being reviewed internally and has yet to be discussed with local governments, Chuang said, and he did not specify when he expected the plan to be approved.

“It still needs a little bit more time,” he said.

After ordinary hotels send in their applications, they will need to be approved by the local government where they operate before they can start accepting arrivals who need to be quarantined, Chuang said.

Taiwan has seen an increase of new imported cases in July and August as COVID-19 cases have spiked around the world.

A total of 38 imported cases has been recorded in Taiwan since July 1, according to CECC data.