Jump to the content zone at the center

Deputy Mayor: Committed to Community Outbreak Prevention and Devising Various Contingency Measures

Deputy Mayor Huang and city officials Taipei City Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-Shan received a joint media interview at the city hall on the afternoon of February 18 to answer questions pertaining to the COVID-19 outbreak.

A journalist asked that now a suspected community-acquired infection case has been reported, although it has yet to be confirmed, based on previous experience during the SARS outbreak Taipei did indeed seal off a building, so will the same approach be applied in the future if more community-acquired infection cases emerge during the outbreak?

Huang replied that community-acquired infection has not yet been confirmed at this stage, but Taipei City Government has had SOPs in place since the last time and also now, so community outbreak prevention measures are currently being implemented. Sealing off buildings will only be enforced if the outbreak escalates to the next level where hospital spaces are no longer capable of accommodating the patients. The Mayor has said time and again that it is imperative to act quickly to treat and quell sporadic outbreaks at the beginning because sealing off buildings will only be implemented at a much later stage.

A journalist asked the Deputy Mayor to elaborate on some of the outbreak prevention work being conducted, to which Huang replied that the suspected community-acquired infection case was discovered yesterday, but Mayor Ko Wen-je has already pointed out that community-acquired infection is bound to happen sooner or later, therefore the highest guiding principle followed by the Taipei City Government is to terminate sporadic outbreaks at the source immediately. Yesterday, the city government asked the Department of Health (DOH) and the Fire Department to mobilize more than 1,000 disaster relief volunteers in Taipei City. Consisting of borough chiefs, borough secretaries and local residents, disaster relief volunteers are people who have received regular disaster relief-related training or licenses in the communities. Consequently, the DOH and the Fire Department were asked to mobilize more than 1,000 disaster relief volunteers yesterday to facilitate the DOH’s outbreak prevention operations in the communities. Secondly, the necessary equipment or resources needed for community outbreak prevention within each community is covered by the contingency plan, and relevant drills will be conducted.

Another journalist asked whether the number of people placed under home isolation or house quarantine will increase after Taiwanese businesspeople return from China, and whether Taipei City will implement a similar approach to that of New Taipei City, where a care center will be established?

Huang commented that it will depend on whether the existing health care system or space will be able to accommodate the volume of patients. Since New Taipei City has a larger population than Taipei City, its patient volume should therefore be larger than that of Taipei City. The Taipei City Government will not adopt the same method. As mentioned earlier, in addition to borough chiefs and secretaries, 1,000 disaster relief volunteers will also be mobilized to assist not only in-home isolation but also community outbreak prevention, for, if the isolation operation takes up all of the government’s resources, the city government will not have the additional time or energy to engage in community outbreak prevention. Therefore, it is hoped to replace manual surveillance with technology, otherwise, the city government’s manpower will be tied up in monitoring people placed under home isolation. As a matter of fact, only a small portion of people fail to comply with home isolation regulations. Consequently, it is not the aim of the city government to stretch the city’s resources to keep an eye on those placed under home isolation; rather, these resources should be directed to community outbreak prevention efforts.