VIRUS OUTBREAK: Mass testing ‘could swamp the system’

POLICY EXPLAINED: The head of the CECC said that mass testing would have produced 12,475 false-positives, overwhelming the healthcare system, causing community spread

Taipei Times
Date: Aug 23, 2020
By: Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung speaks at a Central Epidemic Command Center news briefing in Taipei on Wednesday.
Photo provided by the Central Epidemic Command Center via CNA

Mass testing for COVID-19 on all travelers arriving in Taiwan could overwhelm the nation’s healthcare system, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new confirmed case, a Taiwanese who had returned from Mexico.

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that in the past few days the public has been widely debating the Changhua County Public Health Bureau’s testing policy, so he used a simulated scenario to explain why mass testing is not the best policy at this moment.

The bureau was found to have asked many people who had returned from other countries and were still under 14-day home quarantine to be tested for COVID-19, despite having no symptoms, which does not align with the CECC’s policy of only arranging for people in quarantine to be tested if they show symptoms.

The bureau’s actions were revealed when the CECC on Monday reported that a Taiwanese teenager living in the US had tested positive on his 10th day of quarantine after returning for a family visit, even though he had no symptoms.    [FULL  STORY]

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