On November 18, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that it would launch the Fall-Winter COVID-19 Prevention Program on December 1 to enhance border quarantine control and to strengthen community prevention and medical response measures. The CECC urges the public and medical institutions to follow these measures.
Program details are listed below.
A. Border quarantine: all travelers coming to Taiwan and transit passengers are required to provide a certificate of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result issued within three days prior to boarding the flight to Taiwan.
Starting from December 1, 2020, until February 28, 2021 (local time at the place of departure), travelers arriving at airports in Taiwan or transit passengers at airports in Taiwan, regardless of nationality (Taiwanese nationals or foreign nationals) or travel purpose (studies, work, diplomatic or official business, or others), are all required to present a certificate of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result issued within three days (working days) of boarding before they are allowed to board their flight to Taiwan. After travelers arrive in Taiwan, if following investigations find that travelers have provided a false or an incorrect test result or they refuse, evade or obstruct the related quarantine measures, such travelers may face a fine of between NT$10,000 to NT$150,000 according to Articles 58 and 69 of the Communicable Disease Control Act. Furthermore, the criminal liability of the Offenses of Forging Instruments or Seals may be imposed on such travelers for their act of providing a false or an incorrect test result.
The CECC stated that a certificate of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result must be issued by a medical institution deemed qualified by the local government in the traveler’s place of departure. In principle, such a certificate shall be written in English, Chinese, or both Chinese and English (bilingual version). Such a certificate shall include the following information: the name on the passport of the traveler, the date of birth or passport number of the traveler, specimen collection date and test report date, the virus name, testing method, and the result. Related details and measures to comply with are listed below.
1. In situations where the traveler provides a French- or Spanish-language certificate, other than Chinese or English, of a negative COVID-19 test result, if the certificate is in the official language of the place of departure, and ground personnel of the airline is capable of assisting in the inspection of the content, the certificate may be accepted.
2. The three-day period of such a certificate means three working days and is counted from the test report date; therefore, national holidays in the country/region where the traveler takes the COVID-19 test may be excluded.
3. Such a certificate, whether it is the original copy, a photocopy, or an electronic file, can be accepted as long as the content and necessary fields on it are clear, identifiable and correct.
4. The testing method of a negative test result should be a nucleic acid test (such as PCR, RT-PCR, NAA, NAT or others); Immunoserologic testing, which detects the presence of any antigens (Ag) or antibodies (IgG or IgM) in blood, does not meet the requirements set forth in this program.
B. Community prevention: people must wear masks in eight types of public venues, and violators who refuse to comply after being advised could be penalized according to laws.
From December 1, people must wear masks in the following eight types of public venues: healthcare facilities, public transportation, places of consumption, learning places, sports and exhibition venues, entertainment venues, religious and worship places, offices and business venues. Members of the public who do not wear a face mask as required and refuse to wear a mask after being advised to do so will be fined not less than NT$3,000 and no more than NT$15,000 according to Subparagraph 6, Paragraph 1, Article 37 of the Communicable Disease Control Act by the local government. If people need to dine at the above-mentioned public venues, as long as social distancing is maintained or partitions are installed inside those locations, people can take off their masks temporarily while eating.
In outdoor venues where large crowds gather or in public large-scale outdoor events, proprietors or management units of such venues are advised to manage and control crowds based on the total number of people at these venues.
C. Medical response: strengthen case reporting and specimen collection procedures, and formulate incentive indicators.
The CECC pointed out that it considered strengthening case reporting and specimen collection procedures to be an important prevention strategy under the Fall-Winter COVID-19 Prevention Program and it has made four key measures. The four key measures are as follow: 1. healthcare facilities execute their duty of reporting cases of statutory notifiable disease; 2. draw up an indicator of incentives for case reporting and specimen collection, that is, strengthening screening for patients with pneumonia at the outpatient department and emergency department of hospitals in communities; 3. draw up the incentive indicator of strengthening screening for hospitalized patients; 4 draw up the incentive indicator of strengthening health monitoring for healthcare personnel.