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All arivals from Philippines will undergo mandatory COVID-19 test due rising number of cases

All passengers arriving from the Philippines will have to undergo mandatory testing for COVID-19 starting Sunday because of the rising number of imported cases from the country, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Friday.

The new regulation will apply to both Taiwanese citizens and resident permit holders, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung , who also heads the CECC, at a press briefing. Taiwan will pay for the COVID-19 tests.

People with symptoms suggesting a passenger could have COVID-19 will be collectively quarantined in a government facility, while those without symptoms will be asked to quarantine at home while waiting for the results, Chen said.

The move was made because over half of all of Taiwan's imported cases in July have been from the Philippines, Chen said.

"Of the 11 imported cases in July, six were found in passengers who returned from the Philippines," Chen said.

All six cases were confirmed between July 16 and 24, according to CECC data.

A total of 696 people arrived from the Philippines between July 1 and July 22, said CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥).

The latest three imported cases recorded Friday were found in three passengers who had arrived from the Philippines between July 13 and 22, the CECC said.

Another four passengers from the Philippines who transited through a Taiwan airport tested positive upon their arrival in Hong Kong, the CECC said in a statement.

The cases reflect the high risk of infection in the Philippines, which has reported an average of 1,600 new cases per day over the past two weeks, Chen said.

To date, the Philippines has reported 74,390 confirmed cases, the second most of any country in the Western Pacific region, after China, the CECC said. (By CNA)

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