For the third time, there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in Taiwan caused by returning airline pilots who are ignoring quarantine rules. When are they going to learn that they’re not exempt?
After the first two outbreaks, the CECC got things under control quickly. This time, however, a group of pilots and flight crew went out in Taoyuan to restauarants and other packed venues, and they travelled, exposing potentially hundreds at a time. It has now spread to I-lan (a small east coast town). There are currently a hundred infected, and the CECC issued statements that there could be many unknown carriers at this point.
As of last week, ALL outdoor events of 500 or more people and indoor of more than 100 are banned. Nightclubs are now limiting entries and ID is mandatory for tracking people. This means no Dragon Boat Festival (June 14) for the second year or any large gatherings, but that’s no hardship. What really makes this annoying is that flu season is over and it’s already 30°C to 35°C outside. Nobody wants to be wearing masks and dealing with the discomfort.
Thankfully, aside from a few ignorant conspiracy theory clowns, there isn’t much resistance. I really wish the government would deport the foreigners spewing that garbage.
I also wish the government would take my recommendation for pilots: Work four weeks on, six weeks off (two of them in quarantine). House them at airport hotels between flights so they’re well rested, and don’t let them mingle with the general population. The hotels need the business to stay open.
There are a hundred infected now and possibly up to a thousand island-wide. The CECC has done an excellent job thus far, and it shouldn’t be ruined by selfish individuals.
During a press conference on Tuesday (May 11), the Minister of Health and Welfare and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that with the outbreak of five local cases in Yilan and one case of unknown origin in New Taipei City, Taiwan has “entered community transmission.”
In an interview with Hit FM on May 3, Chen said that two and a half months after the Taoyuan General Hospital cluster infection, Taiwan is faced with the China Airlines cargo pilot and Novotel hotel employee cluster infections. At the time, Chen was concerned about case No. 1,129, who is a housekeeping department employee of the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport Hotel.
What Chen said is worrying is that two family members of case No. 1,129, identified as cases 1,134 and 1,136, both had an extensive period of community activities during the infectious period, and not all community contacts have been identified. When it comes to the children of case No. 1,129, Chen warned that Taiwan is on the “verge of community transmission.”