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Taiwan mulls for a self-paid COVID-19 test for all foreign nationals arrival

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Monday said it is mulling whether if there is a need for arriving foreign nationals to undergo a self-paid COVID-19 test after their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The matter is being considered mainly because of differences in the acceptance toward wearing masks and the ease of seeking medical treatment, CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said at a press briefing in Taipei.

"Their understanding of where to seek medical treatment may be limited and there are also cases (due to cultural differences) where some people may delay seeking help because they think their symptoms will resolve themselves," Chuang said.

Even though the idea of an extra test after the mandatory 14-day quarantine is under discussion, there are no official plans as yet, Chuang said.

"We have not discussed the details. At the moment, we only have a very general idea," Chuang replied to reporters who asked for more clarification on the matter.

The idea has already been questioned from other leading health experts, including Su Ih-jen (蘇益仁), former director-general of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control -- the predecessor of the Centers for Disease Control.

"The rationale of it all is not clear" if arriving foreign nationals still have to pay for a COVID-19 test after they have done their mandatory 14-day quarantine, Su said.

If the sake of community safety is at stake, then the testing should be paid for by Taiwan, and if the test needs to be self-paid, then the test should be taken upon arrival, Su added.

In addition, foreign nationals without an Alien Resident Certificate already have to provide a negative COVID-19 test result issued within three days of departure before they are allowed to board a flight to Taiwan, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement issued on July 24.

To date, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Taiwan is 487, with 395 classified as imported, according to the CECC. (By Central News Agency)

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