By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter
Taiwan is stepping up its preparatory measures to protect its citizens against the spread of the Ebola virus.
The Taiwan embassy says that Taiwan is densely populated with a significant amount of international passenger traffic and that having experienced major disease outbreaks such as SARS, H1N1 and H7N9, it takes extreme caution to guard against the spread of communicable diseases.
“When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the current Ebola outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on August 8, we immediately established a Task Force for Ebola Virus Disease Response to monitor the latest developments and reinforce the implementation of Ebola prevention measures”, the embassy said in a press release.
One of the measures that Taiwan has taken is heightened border protocols that were instituted during the post-SARS period. These include fever screening checkpoints at all entry ports, . For the current Ebola outbreak, broadcasting announcements on all arriving international flights, and urging passengers who had been in Ebola-affected West African countries within the past 21 days to contact the quarantine officer at the airport.
In addition to these, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC requires passengers arriving from high-risk areas to fill out an Ebola declaration form indicating their travel history.
The six Ebola-designated hospitals around Taiwan have been instructed to ensure that all frontline healthcare workers are properly trained in the donning, wearing and doffing of personal protective equipment.
Taiwan’s president, Ma Ying-jeou has pledged to provide 100,000 sets of protective clothing, donate US $1 million and dispatch a team of medical experts to affected areas in West Africa.
The Taiwan embassy says that the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Taiwan has also been in close contact with international counterparts.