Taoyuan, May 8 (CNA) The Taoyuan City Public Health Department on Saturday fined the Novotel Hotel at Taoyuan International Airport NT $ 1.27 million (US $ 45,593) for have accommodated people in quarantine in a building not certified for this purpose.
The hotel has been fined for breaking rules prohibiting hotels without the necessary certification from providing rooms to guests who need to be quarantined under Taiwan’s COVID-19 prevention measures, said the health department in a statement.
The airport hotel has been at the center of a cluster of COVID-19 infections involving its employees and their families, and possibly several pilots working for Taiwan’s China Airlines (CAL), which owns the property.
The Novotel airport hotel consists of two buildings, one of which was designated by the Taoyuan authorities as a quarantine hotel in October 2020.
The other building has been partly used by the carrier as a dormitory for flight crews since before the outbreak began and during the outbreak, while some rooms have also been used to accommodate general guests.
Because some of the CAL flight crew members who stayed in the dormitory portion of the uncertified building were in quarantine, the airport hotel violated the ban announced by the Department of Transportation and Communications on September 30. 2020, according to the health department.
Each violation of the ban is punishable by a fine of between NT $ 3,000 and NT $ 15,000 under section 70 of the Communicable Disease Control Act, according to the ministry’s announcement.
The health department has therefore decided to set a fine of NT $ 6,000 per day for the 211 days between September 30, 2020 and April 28, 2021, one day before all guests and employees were transferred from the property to quarantine centers following the first confirmed case. of a hotel employee.
Six Novotel employees tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, while a total of 31 patients have been linked to the cluster of infections involving the airport hotel and China Airlines, of which the first cases have been confirmed April 20.
Taiwan’s health authorities have yet to identify the source of the CAL pilots’ infections or whether they were related to the Novotel, but found that the virus genome sequences in some of the pilots and Novotel employees were the same. , indicating a possible link.
In addition to the fine imposed by the Taoyuan authorities, the airport hotel was fined NT $ 150,000 by the Tourism Board on Thursday for mixing hotel guests and quarantined crews. on the same floor, which also violated the government’s COVID-19 prevention measures.
Meanwhile, the carrier faces a fine of NT $ 1 million imposed by the Civil Aviation Administration for failing to implement quarantine and health management measures related to its flight crews.