Travelers from Philippines among Taiwan's new COVID-19 cases in August

After half of Taiwan's imported cases in July were found to be linked to the Philippines, another 11 travelers who recently arrived from the Southeast Asian country were found positive for the coronavirus. 

On August 12, Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 11 of the 14 imported cases seen during the first two weeks of the month involved people who arrived from the Philippines. Two cases were from South Africa and Guatemala, while the source of the last case had yet to be identified. 

The cases involving travelers from the Philippines were confirmed on the following dates:

Taiwan, hailed globally for its response to the pandemic, reported 481 confirmed cases in a population of some 23.7 million. The 481 cases include 389 imported, 55 indigenous, 36 among naval crew members aboard the Panshi fast combat support ship, and 1 that had yet to be determined. 

The country's total cases include 7 deaths and 450 recoveries. 

Travel restrictions

The continued spread of the coronavirus in the Philippines, along with the imported cases Taiwan has seen in recent weeks, prompted the country to put in additional travel restrictions specific to the Philippines. 

In a CDC advisory on August 8, Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center announced that starting August 12, all travelers coming from the Philippines must have their specimens collected at airports upon entering. The rule covers both Taiwanese and foreigners, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms. 

Foreigners who are not residents will also need to provide a certificate showing a negative COVID-19 test result issued within 3 days before boarding their flight and entering Taiwan. All travelers will likewise need to undergo quarantine for 14 days at a group quarantine facility. 

The Taiwanese government said it will cover quarantine costs from Taiwanese and foreigners who are residents, while other foreigners will need to pay NT$1,500 per night during their stay at the facility. 

Aside from Taiwan, New Zealand also reported that 4 out of its 12 imported cases in the first two weeks of August were travelers from the Philippines. – Rappler.com 

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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