Visits to hospital inpatients and long-term care facility residents in Keelung, Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan will be restricted, effective immediately, due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Sunday.
Such visits in the four cities in northern Taiwan will not be allowed in principle, unless the visitors obtain the permission of the facilities, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (???) said during the CECC's press briefing that day.
Those able to visit inpatients in a hospital will now need to present a negative COVID-19 test, which can either be an antigen test done with a home testing kit or a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, taken within three days prior to the visit, according to the CECC.
The government will pay for the test if a person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Chen said. Otherwise, visitors need to pay for the test themselves.
If a visitor was previously confirmed to have had the disease, the test will not be required if the individual is out of COVID-19 related isolation and the visit is made within three months following the onset of symptoms, Chen said.
A patient and a caregiver who are to be admitted to a hospital for an elective procedure should take a COVID-19 test paid by the government within three days before they are admitted, unless they already had COVID-19 and recovered in the past three months, he said.
The same rules apply to those who are admitted to a hospital for emergencies, except a PCR test will be conducted when the patient and caregiver arrive at the hospital, Chen said.
Meanwhile, a new resident of a care facility will now be required to present a self-paid negative COVID-19 test taken in the three days before the individual moves in, regardless of the person's vaccination status, according to Chen.
The minister also urged medical workers, especially those in Taoyuan where the majority of this year's 25 locally transmitted cases have been identified, along with care facility workers and residents to get vaccinated.
The CECC's announcement of detailed rules on visits to hospital patients and care home residents followed similar restrictions introduced by local governments in the four cities on Friday.
Other local authorities that have introduced such restrictions include Yilan County, Hualien County, Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County, Chiayi County and Kaohsiung.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel