Taipei: The targeted population for government funded influenza antiviral medication has been expanded to flu like patients, regardless of nationality, who are diagnosed with flu symptoms such as fever during the epidemic period, Taiwan's Centers of Disease Control (CDC) announced Tuesday.
Those who are not Taiwanese nationals, however, will need to have residency to qualify for the offer of the government funded drugs without having to undergo a rapid screening procedure, the CDC said.
The new measure, which will be carried out until March 31, has been introduced as the country combats the spread of the COVID 19 coronavirus, a highly contagious disease with similar symptoms to seasonal influenza, according to the CDC.
Prescribing flu antiviral medication for flu like patients with fever is believed to be able to rule out flu cases as suspected COVID 19 infection.
Before the expansion, the eligible patients for the government funded flu antiviral drugs included only flu like illness (ILI) patients whose family members/co workers/classmates were also diagnosed as ILI patients during the epidemic period, aside from those in another seven categories of eligible patients, including reported cases of severe complicated influenza, according to the CDC.
On Tuesday, the CDC also urged people not to lower their guard even though the flu season has passed its peak in Taiwan.
From last October to March 2, there have been 965 severe cases of seasonal flu infection in the nation with 112 deaths, 98 percent of which were patients who had not been vaccinated for this flu season, CDC data showed.
The data also indicated that from Feb. 23 29, the number of people visiting emergency departments at hospitals after developing flu like symptoms dropped by 4.4 percent from the previous week.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel