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Apr 30, 2003, No. 005

  • Date:2003-04-30

Press Release of the Offshore Control Division of the Executive Yuan's SARS Epidemic Management Committee

The Offshore Control Division of the Executive Yuan's SARS Epidemic Management Committee held a meeting on the morning of April 30 to reassess and classificatorily standardize reassign the authorities and duties involved in dealing with the following issues: the ongoing prevention and quarantine measures at airports and seaports; entry and exit issues for people who are during the period of compulsory quarantine measures; regulations governing mandatory wearing of masks for all people aboard airplanes flying from Kinmen to Taiwan via “Mini-Three-Links” route; prevention and health care measures with regard to flight crews, commercial ship crews and fishing boat crews who are from areas with a concentration of SARS cases.

To strengthen the procedures of prevention and quarantine measures at airports and seaports, authorities and duties were re-evaluated and standardized classificatorily in accordance with the Civil Aviation Law and the Communicable Disease Prevention Law. In airports, the airport director shall be the commander in charge of the airport's epidemic prevention measures. In commercial seaports, the director of the harbor bureau shall be the commander responsible for epidemic prevention measures. In fishing harbors, the harbor administration shall be in charge, or the Coast Guard Administration shall notify the local health authorities to handle the prevention and quarantine measures; in case there are still doubts over who the competent authority should be, the Fisheries Administration of the Council of Agriculture shall appoint a mediator to clear up the situation. The above resolution comes into force on April 30.

During the session it was also decided that those placed under a 10-day compulsory quarantine according to regulations of a special program, but have to exit the country within ten days, will not be further restrained from existing Taiwan. However, the prevention and quarantine measures for people planning to exit Taiwan during their 10-day compulsory quarantine period shall be made more comprehensive and detailed, and a flowchart will be drawn up and issued to all relevant agencies as the basis for implementation.

On the matter of compulsory quarantine for ship crews, the current policy is as follows: The crews of fishing vessels entering Taiwan from areas with a concentration of SARS cases will be placed under compulsory quarantine at home if they are ROC nationals; Regarding foreign workers and foreign fishing vessels, since most of these foreign ships are oceangoing ships, foreign workers and foreign fishery crews have already spent seven days at sea before they entered Taiwan's fishing ports. Therefore, these crews will be put under quarantine on board their vessels after entering a Taiwan port. As for the Mainland fishing crews, they will be placed under quarantine in quarantine sites ashore that have already been arranged by the Council of Agriculture.

The Offshore Control Division on April 30 also upheld its classification of Canada as an “area with a concentration of SARS cases,” which means that anybody entering Taiwan from Canada will be subject to compulsory quarantine. This is necessary to avoid loopholes in Taiwan's prevention efforts.

All those returning to Taiwan from the Mainland via the “Mini-Three- Links” route of Kinmen are required (in accordance with their quarantine notices) to wear masks during the entire flight from Kinmen to their destination in Taiwan. Immediately after arrival, they are to be placed under compulsory quarantine.

At the present stage, the Executive Yuan serves as the commanding center for directing and supervising all SARS prevention and quarantine efforts. Whenever the administration of an airport, seaport or fishing harbor has any questions about the implementation of epidemic prevention measures, it can directly get in touch with the MAC Dept. of Legal Affairs, an operation unit for dealing with matters related to the Offshore Control Division of the Executive Yuan's SARS Epidemic Management Committee.