The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) issued a Level 3 travel warning for Italy on Thursday, February 27, due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) advising individuals against all non-essential travel. As of 00:00 (local time) on Friday, February 28, individuals that have visited Italy within the 14 days prior must undergo a 14-day home quarantine upon arrival to Taiwan. The measure excludes individuals that only transited via Italy. Those in violation of home quarantine orders may be fined. Similar measures are in place for South Korea and China, for which the CECC has also issued Level 3 travel warnings. Level 2 travel notices remain in place for Japan, Singapore, and Iran, while a Level 1 travel notice is also in place for Thailand.
The Taiwanese Ministry of Health confirmed 39 cases of COVID-19 across the territory as of Saturday, February 29. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to keep abreast of the situation, respect government regulations, and contact their nearest embassy for further details. For information on documents required for special visas and official travel information, visit BOCA's website.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.