Taiwan Orders up to 5,000 People to Quarantine in Virus Outbreak

Taiwan’s health authorities have implemented their broadest lockdown measures yet in an effort to keep a widening outbreak of Covid-19 from spiraling out of control.

Patients, carers and medical staff at a hospital in the northern city of Taoyuan at the center of a growing outbreak will have to quarantine at home for 14 days effective immediately, Taiwan’s health minister Chen Shih-chung said at a briefing in Taipei Sunday. That would also include all people they live with, and the number of people involved could total as many as 5,000, Chen said.

The order covers anyone who entered the hospital between Jan. 6 and Jan. 19. Everyone affected will have to continue monitoring their health for a further seven days and take a Covid test after leaving quarantine.

The latest steps are the toughest measures taken yet by health authorities as they struggle to contain the virus after it began spreading at Taoyuan General Hospital in northern Taiwan earlier this month. The outbreak poses the biggest threat to Taiwan’s largely successful response to the coronavirus pandemic so far.

Taiwan has recorded just 889 cases and seven deaths in total since the beginning of the pandemic but officials have reported a steady stream of local infections linked to the hospital over the past few weeks. Earlier in the day, Chen said there were five new cases Sunday, one of which was a man who had stayed at the hospital several weeks ago, plus one of his family members.

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