Taiwan public health expert calls for mass coronavirus testing

31-Mar-2020 Intellasia | TaiwanNews | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Taiwan should embark on massive coronavirus testing to curb the spread of the pandemic, said a public health expert Monday (March 30.)

Currently Taiwan limits COVID-19 screening to suspected cases and people who have developed symptoms or recently traveled abroad. The approach, while helpful for reducing the waste of medical resources, could present a risk of failing to identify asymptomatic patients, said Chen Hsiu-his, vice dean of National Taiwan University’s College of Public Health (CPH).

The expert suggested that the authorities adopt mass testing to detect the Wuhan virus, as countries like South Korea, Germany, and the US have done for early intervention. Taiwan can conduct blanket testing for all arriving visitors and establish screening stations at high-risk community hotspots, the Liberty Times quoted Chen as saying.

Running a simulation model, Chen estimated that 800 imported cases could lead to 4,000 domestic infections without screening measures. Taiwan can bring the number down to 700 based on existing testing criteria, but the number would drop to only 150 if a large-scale screening mechanism were put in place.

The measure is also likely to slash rates of coronavirus mortality and patients in critical conditions by 89 percent, according to the modelling results. While the practice will inevitably put a strain on the country’s medical capacity, it will effectively cut the chances of a community outbreak, Chen believes.



Category: Taiwan

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