As the number of cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection continues growing and public transport in Wuhan City, China was shut down starting from 10 am on January 23,2020, indicating an increasing activity of 2019-nCoV infection, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that starting from January 23 the outbreak level for the Wuhan pneumonia was escalated to level 2 and that Minister of Ministry of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-Chung (陳時中) acts as the Commander. The Executive Yuan Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) attended the command center meeting and were briefed. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) instructed that the prevention work for the epidemic shall be considered combat missions and handled rigorously with thorough preparation to achieve comprehensive prevention efforts and that all government agencies must rapidly respond to and administer respective affairs, apply new technologies to reinforce communication with relevant agencies and health education and utilize past experience to reduce public panic.
Public transport in Wuhan City has been temporarily suspended due to the epidemic outbreak, and Taiwanese businesspeople might not be able to leave Wuhan. The Border Affairs Corps, Ministry of National Immigration Agency has been informed to examine the entry permit of mainland Chinese and decline entry of people who resides or originally resided in Wuhan. Moreover, all airline companies have been informed that ground crew must check the residence or place of birth on the entry permit when checking the permit at departing airports; if the aforementioned column is left blank, the traveler will be asked to present his/her Resident Identity Card; such traveler will be declined to board the plane to Taiwan if his/her residence is Wuhan City, Hubei Province. The responsible authority will trace Taiwanese businesspeople who have not managed to leave Wuhan using their registered information established by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and actively express concerns to these Taiwanese people about their health and further understand the real situation in Wuhan.
According to the reporting data provided by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, among 31 Chinese provinces and cities (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), confirmed cases of the Wuhan pneumonia have been reported in 24 provinces and cities with a cumulative total of 571 confirmed cases, including 95 severe cases and 17 deaths cumulatively. Of eight deaths recorded on January 22, one case was 53 years old while 7 other cases were over 65 years old and had chronic diseases and conditions such as post cancer, hepatic insufficiency, hypertension and diabetes and these deaths was recorded in Hubei Province. The number of close contact is 5,897, and the number of individuals being traced is 4,928. A total of 11 confirmed cases have been recorded in other countries and areas, including 4 cases in Thailand, 2 in Hong Kong, 1 in Taiwan, 1 in Japan, 1 in South Korea, 1 in the United States and 1 case in Macau.
In light of the pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, CECC continues bolstering outbreak surveillance and border quarantine measures and inquiring travelers with fever arriving in Taiwan through international (including cross-strait) and ports about history of travel to Wuhan and conducting their health assessment. Onboard quarantine of all direct flights arriving from Wuhan has been implemented since December 31, 2019. Thus far, a total of 38 flights and 4,625 passengers and cabin crews have been inspected without new additional case of hospitalization. 45 new cases were reported on January 22. As of writing, a total of 65 cases of 2019-nCoV infection have been reported, including one confirmed cases announced on January 21, 10 individuals removed from the follow-up list, 54 individuals in isolation for lab tests. On the other hand, the confirmed case-patient is currently being treated in a negative pressure ward at the hospital, and 46 individuals who had contact with the case did not develop any symptoms except for one individual with a mild cough without fever.
CECC reminds the public again that the travel notice level for Wuhan has been raised to Level 3: Warning and that the local public transport has been shut down and urges the public to avoid all non-essential travels to Wuhan. Travelers visiting Wuhan are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap, wear a surgical mask and seek medical attention when coughing, avoid contact with wild animals and patients with acute respiratory tract infections and avoid visiting traditional markets and healthcare facilities throughout the trip. If symptoms such as fever or cough develop upon arriving in Taiwan from Wuhan or other neighboring areas in China, whether or not cough or fever medicines have been taken, please voluntarily notify the quarantine officer at the airport/port to receive health assessment. 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.