Taiwan, thus far lauded for its overall management of the coronavirus crisis, is upping its garb requirements for airline crew,  according to a report by the Central News Agency.   It is also drafting guidelines for protective wear used by airline passengers, the agency said on Saturday.

Crews starting April 1 will have to wear surgical masks, goggles, protective clothing and gloves — the same equipment given to medical personnel, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said yesterday, according to the report.  Authorities “will also come up with guidelines for passengers, who will be punished if they break the rules,” the report said.

As of today, passengers have been allowed to bring their own protective gear, including alcohol hand sanitizers, according to the agency.  The new rules follow the spread of the virus to cabin crew and pilots of Taiwan airlines, the agency said. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan’s main international airport, yesterday confirmed a new case involving a tourist service center worker, the United Daily News reported today.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration said Friday that flight crews working on long-haul passenger flights that require entrance to a foreign country “to rest” will be subject to five days of home quarantine after returning to Taiwan; the home quarantine period for cargo flights will be three days, the agency reported. Flight crews of domestic airlines were previously exempt from a rule that locals entering Taiwan from abroad need to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days, the agency said.  Most foreigners are no longer allowed entry. (See related post here.)

Taiwan, which has a population of 23 million and is home to many top electronics suppliers to Apple, reported only 283 COVID-19 cases as of Saturday.

Taiwan’s airlines, like United, Delta and American Airlines in the U.S., have been hit hard by the outbreak.   Shares in Taipei-based China Airlines have lost a quarter of their value since Dec. 31; Eva Airways, controlled by the family of deceased transportation billionaire Chang Yung-fa, have lost a third. Formosa International Hotels, one of the Taiwan’s largest hotel businesses, has also lost nearly a third of its value so far this year.

–Follow me @rflannerychina




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