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Taiwan's CECC requires extra COVID-19 test for sailors of 'Goodwill Fleet' returning home

According to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), sailors from the "Goodwill Fleet" were scheduled to return home Sunday (May 3) morning after two weeks in coronavirus quarantine, but still required to submit to extra tests first.

Since mid-April, 31 crew members who spent days in the naval ship and in Palau from Feb. 21 until April 9 and March 12-15 respectively, tested positive for the COVID-19, in what was a major cluster. 

According to rules established by the CECC, the quarantined crew members would have been allowed to return to civilian life early morning May 3, but Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung said Saturday (May 2) they would have to stay one day longer for one additional test. If all of them tested negative, their isolation would end, though they would still have to monitor their own health, Chen said, apologizing for the delay.

Because of the special circumstances of the Navy cluster, it was better to be cautious and reduce the risk of new infections to an absolute minimum, according to the minister.

When the fleet returned to port in Kaohsiung April 9, President Tsai Ing-wen and senior Navy officials attended a ceremony on the quay, without boarding the ships or meeting any of the crew members.

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