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Command Center Agrees to Magistrate Lai’s Suggestion that Offshore Island Residents Must Complete Quarantine in Taiwan First
Penghu County Government 2020-03-31 276
    During a video conference between the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) and local governments on March 31, Penghu County Magistrate Feng-Wei Lai suggested that the ban on the use of public transport by those under home quarantines should include the offshore islands as well. CECC agreed to the suggestion and will require residents of offshore islands returning from overseas to complete a 14-day home quarantine on Taiwan proper before they can take public transport back to the islands.

    Lai said that he recently contacted Secretary-General Chu Chen at the Office of the President, Political Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Dr. Chi-Kung Ho, and other officials to express local concerns about being on the same flight as those who should be under home quarantine. After discussing the issue with Kinmen County and Lienchiang County, they all agreed that to alleviate public concerns, the Central government should amend the current regulations allowing residents of offshore islands under home quarantine to take public transport home.

    In response, CECC Deputy Commander Tsung-Yan Chen announced at the video conference on the afternoon of March 31 that residents of offshore islands under home quarantine will now be included in the ban on public transport and must stay in Taiwan proper to complete a 14-day quarantine when they return from overseas. If a resident of an offshore island has no friends or relatives in Taiwan, or is unable to find a quarantine hotel, quarantine accommodation can be provided by the Central government through an expedited application process.

    Magistrate Lai thanked Chu Chen, Chi-Kung Ho and Shih-Chung Chen for their positive response to the concerns of offshore residents. With Penghu Council Speaker Jhao-Ling Chen setting an example by asking her child to practice home quarantine in Taiwan, and the support of Legislator Yao Yang, the collective wish of Penghu’s people have finally been realized.

    Director Chi-Yu Chen from the Taipei Liaison Office of Penghu County Government said that they have now secured reasonably-priced quarantine hotels and stations in northern, central and southern Taiwan with the help of other local governments and the Central government. County Government is now also supplementing the Central Government's NT$1,000/day quarantine compensation with up to NT$1,200/day in housing allowance to greatly reduce the burden on the public. Those who require accommodation can contact the Taipei Liaison Office on 02-23223130 from Monday through to Sunday.

    Penghu County Government said that a large number of nationals have been returning from Europe and America. Though the Ministry of Transportation and Communication prohibits the use of public transport by people returning from Europe and America during the home quarantine period, the ban does not cover residents of the offshore islands and Taitung. These people can take domestic public transport to return to their place of residence. Many residents however expressed fears of being on the same flight as those under quarantine. If someone should test positive, they would also be put under quarantine or at risk of infection through no fault of their own.
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