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WUHAN VIRUS/Police tracks down 3 foreigners who escaped quarantine in Taipei

2020-02-15  English News
Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang / Photo courtesy of CNA
Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang / Photo courtesy of CNA

Taipei, Feb. 14 (CNA) Three travelers arriving from Hong Kong who violated Taiwan's quarantine regulations aimed at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus epidemic were subsequently caught Friday in a rented apartment in Taipei.

The foreigners, two men and one woman, were found in the Ximending area after escaping from their quarantine site in a hotel for almost a week, Taipei City Government deputy spokesman Tai Yu-wen said.

They arrived in Taiwan on Feb. 8 and should have stayed in quarantine for 14 days following their arrival, but instead gave false information about where they were staying, according to Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang.

During this period, health officials were unable to contact them, as their phone numbers were also phony, Huang added.

Tai said the three will each receive stiff fines for forfeiting their quarantine requirement.

Based on the Communicable Disease Control Act, individuals who violate the terms of their quarantine can face a maximum fine of NT$150,000 (US$4,993).

According to the Wanhua Police Precinct that managed to track them down, the three people are family members and nationals of Hong Kong. 

People from Hong Kong and Macau were originally allowed to enter Taiwan if they are willing to subject themselves to a 14-day quarantine.

As the epidemic worsened in China, however, Taiwan on Tuesday began implementing a temporary ban on residents of Hong Kong and Macau, as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

The ban does not apply to people on business contracts, international employees transferred to Taiwan, or residents of Hong Kong and Macau who hold Taiwan resident permits, their spouses, and minor children, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

Taiwan's authorities decided to impose the entry ban in light of the escalation in the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, which is believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has been spreading rapidly in Guangdong Province, neighboring Hong Kong and Macau.