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Taiwan will quarantine 5,000 over the COVID-19 hospital cluster

FILE PHOTO: A man wears a protective mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while shopping before Chinese New Year in Taipei, Taiwan, January 20, 2021. REUTERS / Ann Wang / File Photo

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan will double the number of people to be quarantined at home to more than 5,000 as it seeks to contain a rare internal cluster of COVID-19 linked to a hospital, the health minister said Sunday.

While Taiwan has kept the pandemic under control thanks to early and effective prevention, with most of its 890 infections imported, it has been dealing with a small number of internal transmissions in a hospital since January 1


While the 15 infected so far at the hospital in the northern city of Taoyuan are small compared to many other parts of the world, this has worried the government, which has canceled many large-scale events related to the upcoming Lunar New Year.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told reporters he would increase the number of people who need to be quarantined at home for 14 days who may have had contact with infected patients from the hospital cluster.

He indicated the number of about 5,000 people, compared to about 1,300 who are currently in quarantine.

The government is testing all those who have been quarantined and announcing new cases among them when they are confirmed.

Taiwan has a well-developed tracking system for those who have been in contact with confirmed cases and an electronic surveillance network to ensure that quarantined people stay at home.

Despite new infections, Taiwan has only 95 active cases treated in hospital. The government is holding press conferences to announce details of each new infection.

Report by Ben Blanchard; editing by David Evans

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