Taipei, The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday announced a precautionary ban on inpatient visits at hospitals in Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan in northern Taiwan until Feb. 9.
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, made the announcement at a press briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan, saying the ban will go into effect immediately.
The new restriction was introduced in the wake of a COVID-19 cluster infection that started at Taoyuan General Hospital on Jan. 12 and has since resulted in 15 domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases.
Since then the health authorities have spared no effort to stop the cluster infection from spiraling out of control.
Although no one who visited an inpatient at the Taoyuan hospital has contracted the disease, visitors to the hospital between Jan. 6 and Jan. 19 have been advised to conduct self-health management.
Chen said there will be a few exceptions to the new ban.
Hospitals will allow an inpatient visit if the patient is having an operation or invasive procedure and a family member is needed to accompany them or sign consent forms or other documents.
Visits will also be allowed if a patient’s relative needs to be present for an explanation of an inpatient’s condition from an emergency room, intensive care unit, or hospice unit.
The other exception is for cases where a hospital has determined after an evaluation that a visit is necessary because of a patient’s deteriorating condition or the need for medical intervention, according to Chen.
The new ban, however, will not affect the number of people (including a caregiver) who can accompany a hospitalized patient full time, which remains limited to one, Chen said.
The CECC also reminded visitors to wear face masks at all times in hospitals. Those who fail to do so will face fines of between NT$3,000 (US$107) and NT$15,000.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel