In response to the pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that due to the ongoing outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection during the Lunar New Year Holiday, starting from January 24 to February 29, 2020 the target recipient of government-funded influenza vaccines expanded to ″patients with influenza-like illness and clinically diagnosed with symptoms of influenza (regardless of nationality)″ in order to reduce overcapacity in emergency departments and facilitate screenings and diagnoses to determine patients returning to Taiwan from China with fever are infected with flus or the novel coronavirus during this holiday. Furthermore, to encompass a smaller number of suspected cases with history of travel to Wuhan developing a mild fever and respiratory tract infection symptoms the criteria for a case of the novel virus have been loosened and changed to "fever or acute respiratory tract infections". Travelers returning to Taiwan from Wuhan without developing any symptoms are advised to stay home and to put on a surgical mask if it is necessary to leave. Travelers returning from China without developing any symptoms are advised to avoid going to crowded places and taking public transportation and to put on a surgical mask when doing so.
In light of the pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, Taiwan’s China Airlines, Mandarin Airlines, Air China and China Southern Airlines suspended all direct flights (12 flights a week) to and from Wuhan starting from January 23. As of January 22, a total of 38 flights and 4,625 passengers and cabin crews have been inspected without new additional case of hospitalization. 70 new cases were reported on January 22. As of writing, a total of 134 cases of the novel virus have been reported, including one confirmed cases announced on January 21, 27 individuals removed from the follow-up list and 106 individuals in isolation for lab tests, among which 21 were first tested negative for 2019-nCoV while test results of the others are pending. On the other hand, the confirmed case-patient is currently being treated in a negative pressure ward at the hospital. Of 46 contacts of the confirmed case, one individual with a mild cough without fever as indicated in the news story dated January 22 have recovered whereas one individual developed fever on January 23 and the other individuals have not developed any symptoms.
According to the reporting data provided by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention as of January 23, of 31 Chinese provinces and cities (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), confirmed cases have been reported in 29 provinces and cities with a cumulative total of 830 confirmed cases, including 177 severe cases and 25 deaths cumulatively. The number of close contacts is 9,507, and the number of individuals being tracing is 8,420. A total of 16 confirmed cases have been recorded in other countries and areas, including 4 cases in Thailand, 2 in Hong Kong, 2 in Macau, 2 in Vietnam, 2 in Japan, 1 in Taiwan, 1 in Singapore, 1 in South Korea and 1 case in the United States.
CECC pointed out that the public does not need to specifically visit the eight hospitals designated to inspect and test 2019-nCoV infection. As long as the physician determines that an individual meets the criteria for case reporting when he/she goes to a healthcare facility, his/her samples will be delivered to the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) or the eight designated hospitals for testing. If the aforementioned symptoms develop within 14 days after returning to Taiwan, please call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline, 1922 (or 0800-001922) and put on a surgical mask and seek immediate medical attention as instructed. Moreover, please inform the physician of any history of travel, occupation, contact, and cluster (TOCC) to facilitate timely diagnosis and prompt case-reporting. For more information on 2019-nCoV, please visit the Taiwan CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov.tw.