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Kinmen County sets up rapid COVID-19 testing station at airport

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A passenger takes a COVID-19 test at Kinmen Airport after her arrival. CNA photo May 26
Taipei, May 26 (CNA) The local government in Kinmen opened a rapid testing site for COVID-19 at the county's airport on Wednesday, to screen arriving passengers, after it obtained permission from the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to do so.

Testing of incoming passengers at Kinmen Airport is not mandatory, however, the CECC said, adding that the local governments in the other outlying islands of Matsu and Penghu can also set up similar stations.

Kinmen County Magistrate Yang Chen-wu said Wednesday at the opening of the airport testing station that it will help greatly in the county government's COVID-19 prevention efforts.

While testing is not mandatory, arriving passengers are encouraged to take the rapid tests, particularly if they have been to COVID-19 hotspots or other places where infections have been reported, he said.

On Monday, the CECC revoked an earlier decision by Yang's to have all passengers tested for COVID-19 on arrival in Kinmen, but the CECC later agreed to the establishment of airport rapid testing stations in the offshore county, once the tests were not mandatory.

In explaining the general procedure in Kinmen, Yang said healthcare workers will administer the rapid tests at the airport, and anyone with a positive result will be sent to hospital for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

While awaiting the result of the PCR test, the traveler will be quarantined at a government facility, he said.

Kinmen has not reported any COVID-19 cases so far, but Yang said he was concerned about the risks of the virus being brought into the county, where hospital capacity can become strained very quickly.

Meanwhile, Matsu reported one COVID-19 case on Wednesday -- a resident who had returned home on May 13 for about a week then traveled back to main Taiwan, where her infection was confirmed.

The Lienchiang County government, which governs Matsu Islands, has listed 20 residents who came into contact with the infected woman. It said eight of them have tested negative for COVID-19, while the others are awaiting their results.

According to the county government, two persons who had visited Matsu earlier in May were confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, and 79 contacts were tested, but they were all negative.

The local government has not yet set up any rapid testing stations at the county's Nangan and Beigan airports, but it said arriving passengers will be required to report their health condition to healthcare workers.

Those who are deemed a risk will be transported by bus to either the county hospital in Nangan or the public health center in Beigan for rapid testing, the local government said.

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