Timing Is Everything: Will Taiwan see a partial lockdown at Chinese New Year?

A month ago, several pilots and crew of Eva Airlines violated quarantine and potentially spread COVID-19, as some of them had tested positive.  One of them knowingly travelled while positive.  Since then, there has been an outbreak at Taoyuan General Hospital, with several doctors and nurses affected.  It is the largest and main hospital in the city of Taoyuan, about thirty minutes from Taipei by car or rail.

Then today the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced two employees at a fast food restaurant in Taoyuan had tested positive.  While they were the only two employees in the place, it is located in station for trains and subways, with hundreds passing though and dozens of customers.  The government has done an excellent job of track and trace via cellphones (*), it only requires casual contact for transmission to occur.  (* Obtaining a cellphone SIM card in Taiwan requires photo and name ID, so all active cell phones and people carrying them are easily identified.)  The number of cases has begun to climb again, nearly all the new ones from local transmissions in the last four weeks.

CECC reports four more Taoyuan cases

VIGILANCE: While two of the cases are family members of a nurse, there is no sign of community spread and the source of infection is identifiable, the CECC said

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new domestic COVID-19 cases associated with a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital.

Since the first case was identified on Tuesday last week, five healthcare workers — two doctors and three nurses — at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital have tested positive for the virus.

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that two of the four new cases are the husband and daughter of a nurse (case No. 863) who had earlier been confirmed to have COVID-19.

The doctor and nurse who unknowingly spread COVID-19 visited the fast food restaurant in question.

COVID-19 cases went to traditional market, burger shop: CECC

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Tuesday that of the new COVID-19 cases, one had visited a traditional market in Taoyuan, while another works at a Mos Burger outlet in the same city.

The two cases were both confirmed to have COVID-19 on Tuesday and are the husband and daughter of a nurse who works at Taoyuan General Hospital who tested positive for the disease a day earlier.

The husband and his wife went to Nanmen market in Taoyuan on Jan. 13 from 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m., and again on Jan. 16 from 11:40 a.m.-12:35 p.m, said Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.

[. . .]

All of the locations listed have been disinfected, according to the CECC.

The Chinese New Year holiday runs from February 10th to February 16th (Wednesday to Tuesday).  This is personal speculation only, but if the spread gets out of hand by the end of the month, the timing would be perfect for the island to have a two week lockdown, from February 6th to 21st.  The month long winter vacation for schools begins next monday, so children would be at home anyway.  I’m not assuming that it will happen, but I won’t be shocked if it does.



  1. jrkrideau says

    One would expect flight crew to have some idea of safety precautions. I suppose air crew also develop a sense of privilege.

    Remind me not to fly with Eva Airlines. They might forget to secure the door before take-off.