Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Centre (CECC) issued a Level 3 travel warning (highest level) for 27 European countries and Dubai on Saturday, March 14, advising against all non-essential travel to these countries due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The affected European countries include the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece, Malta, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtensten. From 14:00 (local time) on Saturday, March 14, all travelers from the aforementioned countries must undergo a 14-day home quarantine upon arrival in Taiwan. Foreign travelers can pay to stay at group quarantine facilites from Tuesday, March 17, if they do not have a place to reside. Previous Level 3 travel warnings issued by the authorities remain in effect for China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Iran and Italy.
Meanwhile, the CECC has also issued a Level 2 travel warning for Egypt on Sunday, March 15, due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the country. Other countries with CECC's Level 2 travel warnings include Japan, Singapore, Bahrain, Kuwait, as well as the states of Washington, California, and New York in the US. Travelers arriving from these countries will be required to under go a 14-day self-health management regime that includes minimizing their time spent in public, wearing a face mask, and checking their temperature twice daily.
The CECC has confirmed 59 cases of the virus throughout Taiwan, including one associated fatality and 20 recoveries. 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 March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
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.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 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.
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