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COVID-19 test station set up in Pingtung for migrant fishermen

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A testing station set up in Donggang on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Pingtung County government

Taipei, June 12 (CNA) A COVID-19 testing station set up at a fishing harbor in Pingtung's Donggang Township, to test an estimated 200 migrant fishermen for the disease, started conducting tests on Saturday.

The fishermen have been forced to remain in their boats, which are docked at the harbor, since Taiwan raised its nationwide COVID-19 alert to Level 3 on May 19, when entry for all foreign crew members aboard Taiwanese distant fishing vessels was temporarily suspended.

With the heightened alert, their movements were restricted and they become stuck on their boats prohibited from disembarking, Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Men-an said.

With the testing station, the fishermen will soon be able to enter Taiwan and/or return to their home countries after they receive a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result, Pan said, adding that migrant fishermen are an indispensable part of Pingtung's coastal and distant fishery industry.

According to Pan, a total of 39 of the 200 fishermen received a PCR test on Saturday, adding that Pingtung is the first county in Taiwan to establish a positive-pressure PCR testing station at a fishing harbor.

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