Doctor warns of ‘most challenging time’ ahead amid Taiwan outbreak

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung speaks at an impromptu press conference on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of NOWnews)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Doctor Chiang Kuan-yu (姜冠宇) on Monday predicted that Taiwan has not passed the “most challenging time” yet, which is “Chinese New Year’s Day.”

The famous doctor was responding to authorities’ decision to quarantine 5,000 people, calling on everyone to be more alert when they travel back home. 

“In fact, I think it is better for the high-speed rail (HSR, 高鐵) to restrict free seats and meals at this time and ask passengers not to take off their masks for the duration of the ride.” 

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) announced a day earlier that it would expand the home isolation measures for related contacts to the Taoyuan General Hospital.

Discharged patients and their relatives as well as accompanying patients and those living with them or came in close contact with case 889 when he sought medical help will need to quarantine, the CECC said.

It is estimated that around 5,000 people will be asked to quarantine, the CECC added.

Those who have completed their quarantine period for 14 days, will be tested again and continue practicing self-health management for 7 days. 

In addition, those who have not completed quarantine for 14 days will continue to complete the home isolation before arranging subsequent tests.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that the number of patients asked to be quarantined has not yet been determined, but both “accompanying patients” and those “living with patients” need to be included in the home isolation measures, and a preliminary estimate is that 5,000 people will undergo quarantine.

The CECC also explained that in order to make medical institutions more alert, patients and staff who have been to the department’s outpatient and emergency departments since Jan. 6 have been added to the health insurance cloud prompt to be included in the self-health management subjects.