The pictures of text in the EUCARE app seem to suggest a fee. I’d post them here, but for some inconceivable reason the app developers made a conscious effort to block screenshots. Maybe there’s an annual Most Foreigner-Unfriendly App award we don’t know about. It would explain a lot.
The doctors at clinics aren’t going to do it for free.
It would only give you a three month get out of jail card so might not be worth the trouble.
I don’t necessarily think they should, but if the government wants to keep making a big deal about the daily numbers you’d think they shouldn’t disincentivize accurate reporting (making people pay to test then making them pay again to report - it’s only a couple of hundred dollars, but that’s comparable to what they were bribing people to get vaccinated).
Totally agree. What I should have said was that the doctors want paying and the government isn’t going to pay so I’m sure you have to.
My wife has to have an operation this week so has to do a pcr. 500 dollars. When she complained about the need and the price, the reaction was well it is cheaper than before.
Don’t want to pay, don’t get the operation.
That strikes me as a tad optimistic IIRC, there is no official recognition of naturally-acquired immunity.
Hope your friend Andreas doesn’t experience anything worse than the sniffles and gets back to normal soon.
That’s weird. I didn’t need to pay for the PCR test before my surgery.
I thought I remembered hearing that the patient plus one accompanying person didn’t need to pay. This is wanfang hospital.
Maybe they consider her operation as non essential so she has to pay? Not sure.
I’ve just reported it via the EUCARE app, so I may as well come clean now – Andreas is actually me. The app worked alright, or at least well enough for me to fumble my way through. The video consultation just lasted 7–8 minutes, with the doctor wanting to see my NHI card and the positive test result and asking if I had any symptoms. He said he’d send some messages and medicines* (not sure how), and that I’d later receive a quarantine order dated to yesterday.
Feeling it a bit more today. It’s impressive how quickly/easily it spread on Saturday – the friend who tested positive on Sunday apparently gave it to three of us (that we know of), including one guy who barely spoke to her and was mostly outside. The only ones who didn’t get sick this week were those who’d already had it in the last couple of months, including her husband and the wife of the above-mentioned guy. I think everyone has had three vaccine shots. I assume more people we didn’t know in the bar will have caught it as well, because it’s quite a small place and it was pretty crowded for a concert.
(*Yeah, I’ve received a prescription in the app for 5 different drugs, in typical Taiwanese style. No idea how I’m supposed to fill it, but might not take them anyway. )
It isn’t nice to deceive us like that.
Is it the usual selection of random M&Ms, or is there anything noteworthy in there?
Posted that in the COVID experience thread. If the Mods would be so kind as to maybe unroll the info in Jeanna’s blog post and put it in a sticky, it would be most useful for others, as some steps have been changed.
My 7 days of quarantine just finished at midnight tonight. Here’s how it went for me and what I thought about the reporting procedure.
Saturday, July 23: Met with a few friends in a bar.
Sunday, July 24: One of said friends felt she had a sore throat so did a rapid test, which came out negative, then another one, which came out positive. She informed the rest of us. We’d spent several hours inside talking (sans masks, FWIW), so figured I’d keep an eye on how I was feeling for a couple of days.
Monday, July 25: Felt mostly normal, with no remarkable symptoms. Took the chance to go buy some groceries and run some errands, just in case. Tested negative by rapid test that evening.
Tuesday, July 26: Started to feel a little off – slightly congested and an occasional minor headache, but nothing too serious. Decided it would be a good idea to take out the garbage today, just in case. Tested positive by rapid test later that evening. Two other friends who were there on Saturday also tested positive around this time, one of whom hadn’t even spent that much time with the plague carrier (possibly 3–4 minutes – he was mostly outside and didn’t stay long). All of us were vaccinated and boosted. Among the group of ca. 10 friends, basically all of us who hadn’t had it yet caught it that night (plus presumably an unknown number of others inside the bar).
Spent a couple of hours trying to figure out what I was supposed to do and pissing around with the EUCARE app.
Wednesday, July 27: Was finally able to make an appointment for a video consultation on the EUCARE app for the afternoon. Appointments weren’t that hard to get, but they weren’t that easy either. The number of clinics/hospitals/doctors registered on the app seems surprisingly small – just 25 for all of Taiwan, 3/4 in Taipei City, and 2 in New Taipei City right now. There wasn’t much choice for a same-day consultation, so I pretty much chose the only one with an available slot, which happened to be a geriatric clinic in Beitou. There were more slots available several days later, but I’m very glad I didn’t choose one of those or my 7-day quarantine might have ended up being 10 days instead (see below).
The video consultation was fine. That was done inside the EUCARE app, and I needed to send a photo of my NHI card and the rapid test result beforehand. The doctor spoke workable English, but I got the impression I might be the first foreign patient he’s had to deal with for this (he specifically said he’d translate the instructions into English for me, and he called me separately later to make sure I understood everything and was able to get the medicines). I just told him I was feeling basically fine, no serious symptoms, blah blah blah, and he wrote me the prescription I posted above. The doctor assured me that day zero of my quarantine would be July 26, the date of first symptoms/positive result.
Getting the prescription was a bit of a pain, if one doesn’t speak/read Chinese. This is also done in the app, but it requires choosing a pharmacy from a long list of names and addresses (exclusively in Chinese) then calling them to get a one-time password, then putting that into the app to forward the prescription to the pharmacy. And the app doesn’t allow screenshots (why?!) or copying text, so finding nearby pharmacies took a while. I tried three phone numbers and asked if they had anyone who spoke English (they didn’t), before giving up and asking a Taiwanese friend to call. I didn’t even want the medicine that much to be honest, and was tempted to just give up – it seems to me that the OTP step is unnecessarily convoluted and could just be omitted. Anyway, once I had the OTP, it was easy to forward the prescription to the pharmacy, and they delivered the medicine to my home the next afternoon (the pharmacist in the end spoke some English, and she called me the next day to confirm the details). A friend also dropped off a few sachets of that Taiwanese herbal medicine NRICM101 – I can’t say for sure that it did anything, but it was a lot more palatable than I was expecting.
Had to pay NT$150 for the video consultation (medicines included) by bank transfer, in addition to spending several hours of my life dealing with the process (and a couple more hours later – see below). It’s not much, though it was a bit grating to spend money/time trying to “do the right thing” and report the case. If I had to do this again, I’d honestly be inclined to not bother reporting it and just stay at home for 7 days like my friends did (one Taiwanese and one foreigner; I’m guessing the third known victim reported because he was saying/joking that night that he had COVID insurance so wouldn’t mind catching it). I guess I’ll have this opportunity for future variants/scariants.
Was feeling a bit rougher by this point in the evening, especially after spending several hours with the above and not sleeping well the previous night, and had to give up on a work deadline I was supposed to finish that evening and say I was taking a few days off “because of COVID”. My symptoms still weren’t terrible though.
Thursday, July 28: Received an SMS at 7 a.m. asking me to fill out a web form describing symptoms/contacts/personal details etc. (in Chinese). That was all fine, especially as in this case the developers hadn’t chosen to write everything as a bloody graphic.
Then received another SMS at 9:30 a.m directing me to the quarantine notice. Despite what the doctor had assured me, this had my quarantine period listed as 8 full days (starting 00:00 on July 27, ending 23:59 on August 3). It seems that day zero was being considered as July 27 (date of reporting), not July 26 (date of test/symptoms), despite July 26 correctly appearing as the date of diagnosis in other places like the EUCARE and NHI apps.
Was then called by the Beitou health department…who were confused why I wasn’t in Beitou. I was also confused why they were calling me, because I hadn’t noticed until this point that the clinic was in Beitou – like I said, the app didn’t have too many options. The lady there spoke decent English and just confirmed some details with me before saying the case would be transferred to the health department for Zhongzheng, where I live. She also told me that, to her understanding, my quarantine should last until August 2 not August 3.
The Zhongzheng health department then called me. This lady didn’t speak much English, but she asked me a couple of questions about my symptoms then cheerfully wished that I have a nice time in quarantine. She said I should speak to my doctor about the dates, which I did, and he said they’d sort it.
Medicines arrived in the afternoon. Symptom-wise, this was probably the worst day or two, and it wasn’t that bad for me. I was still just a bit congested, occasional minor headache, slightly sore throat, slight cough, and generally feeling a bit rough. I slept quite a lot and couldn’t be bothered working, but otherwise I just spent the time baking and playing 7 Days to Die (about actual plague-ridden zombies). I’ve definitely had worse seasonal colds in my life. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being normal and 10 being the worst cold I remember having, I’d maybe put this as a 5, if that. Quite an anticlimax after 2.5 years of restrictions (at least in my case – yes, I’m aware that some others have it worse).
Friday, July 29, to Monday, August 1: Nothing remarkable happened. Mostly just bored.
Tuesday, August 2: Still hadn’t received any updated info about my quarantine dates (the doctor said I’d get a new SMS), so I started calling around. This was a pain in the arse. Despite (reported) cases now being at a quarter of what they were two months ago, my impression is that the capacity isn’t there and one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing:
- The doctor said they’d fixed it at the end of last week.
- Beitou health department gave me a number to call for the “Taipei City Epidemic Prevention Hotline”, which didn’t work despite repeated attempts. Just a recorded message, some weird echoes, then automatically hanging up. The Beitou health department lady, who gave me her Line details, had also said she couldn’t get through last week.
- 1922 – “press 7 for English service” – put me on hold for 10 minutes then directed me to someone who doesn’t actually speak English or automatically hung up. On one of these attempts, I got through to a guy who spoke decent English, but there wasn’t much he could do. He again gave me the above number for the Taipei City Epidemic Prevention Hotline, which I told him doesn’t work, but he said I should keep calling or maybe try contacting the Zhongzheng district health department, which he couldn’t give me the number for but maybe I could find it by Google.
- Another number someone (I forget who) gave me just automatically hung up as well.
- The doctor gave me another number and extension for a “Notifiable Infectious Diseases Office”. The lady on that extension was friendly but didn’t speak English. Dialing just the number and selecting “English service” just got me through to someone who doesn’t speak English (I’ve long been curious about whether this option has any influence at all on who a call is directed to).
- I told the doctor this, and he kindly contacted them twice more to ask them to send out the revised notice. The first one of these didn’t come through for whatever reason, but then the doctor added his own phone number as a proxy and received the revised notice, which he forwarded to me over Line confirming my release from quarantine as of midnight on August 2.
- No idea why the previous notices didn’t come through or what had gone wrong in the first place, but I was fortunate that the doctor had been willing to waste his time doing that to help me. The various CDC and health department contacts ultimately weren’t very useful, and I was advised several times just to stick to the notice if I couldn’t get someone to change it, despite them agreeing that I was able to count to 7 properly. (I don’t actually care that much about 8 days vs. 7 days for the quarantine, but the main issue is that I have a separate doctors appointment originally for August 3, which I rescheduled to August 10, and it seems unclear whether I can go to that during the subsequent 7-day self-health management period – I don’t want my NHI card to set off a load of sirens in the hospital and get me flagged/fined for breaking some rule.)
TL;DR: The reporting procedure was more hassle than the COVID.
Thanks for the update. Sigh. I was somewhat understanding of similar hassles back in May, when they were theoretically just getting the system sorted out and cases were exploding. But now, several months later and with cases ebbing? Disappointing. Systems shouldn’t be set up to make it so hard to do what should be the right thing.
Yeah, I remember you had the same issue. Everyone I spoke to agreed about how I’d calculated it…but nonetheless, the notice showed 8 full days after the date of diagnosis. It was such a pain to fix.
The weird thing is that the app allowed video consultation appointments to be booked like 3–4 days in advance, which if our experiences are anything to go by would have had me doing my 7 days at home for up to 11–12 days after the positive test result/symptoms.
I have no clue why the messages for the updated quarantine notice didn’t come through until the doctor entered his own number. Apparently they’d been sent to my number at least twice. I wonder if it’s some weird coding/systems thing related to me not being Taiwanese and causing some automated process to break. I can’t be the first person in ca. 4.5 million cases to have this problem…
Thanks for sharing your experience. Did you have any reason for reporting the case rather than just isolating at home until you tested negative? Was it to get the meds?
What medicines would you recommend stocking up on?
As far as I can understand, the main differences between May and now are you were able to get the quarantine time adjusted - I wasn’t, despite lots of time my wife spent on the phone (two days “lost” to overlong quarantine in my case). And you had to pay, but I didn’t. On the other hand, I didn’t get any medicine, and you did. I don’t recall if drugs were offered and I refused, or if they didn’t offer at all, or if my wife refused on my behalf (but that’d be odd - she’d never, ever refuse any TCM on offer).
Answering the question @DunderMifflin just asked, about why to report: for me, 60% to make sure I had a positive case in my records in case I needed to explain a “lingering” positive several weeks later, e.g. upon flying to Canada - others have had an “official” quarantine start long after they’d finished their own unofficial isolation (that never became an issue for me). 30% it felt like the right thing to do. 10% I thought I should probably have something ready to show work as an explanation / excuse if I did get sick enough to be unable to teach online. That never happened, but it did turn out useful to avoid a big pointless in-person meeting.
My motivation was similar to @lostinasia’s – I thought there was a chance that a confirmed diagnosis and recovery might possibly come in handy for traveling later this year, and I thought it was the “right thing to do” (I don’t really think this anymore, after doing it).
The government also likes to make a big deal about the daily numbers being meaningful despite a lot of people apparently not reporting (so I figured I’d help them make the numbers slightly more reliable ), and I was simply curious about the process. I was going to stay at home for a week anyway, so it didn’t make much difference…but I wasn’t expecting all this hassle about the dates.
Oh yeah, and on the first night I called 1922 to find out the situation after testing positive and gave my name and ARC number (oops!), so I was kind of committed to reporting after that…
I didn’t care that much about the meds. I have enough stuff at home anyway to get me through anything that doesn’t require a hospital visit. I didn’t take everything, especially the anti-phlegm drug because I didn’t have much of a cough, or follow the prescribed instructions, but I took the acetaminophen and decongestant before bed just in case. Honestly, I mostly relied on a Lemsip/Panadol-type drink (Costco), and I would have done that anyway.
The NRICM101 wasn’t that bad either. I’m not really convinced by most TCM stuff and I remember the clinical trial for this seemed rather minimal, but a friend dropped some off. I’m not sure it did me any more benefit than drinking any other hot drink, maybe with lemon and honey, but I figured it was worth a try anyway.
I’ll add to this thread a snippet of my experience, in case its helpful to anyone else.
Having read the above, I went to the website of the local clinics linked to in the blog article and downloaded and translated the addresses of the clinics in order to get my COVID test validated. They translated really well, and fortunately, I was able to find a clinic 100m away from where I live. Double fortunately, they all spoke perfect English (which is surprising given where I live). The process of getting the test validated took about 30 minutes (they asked the brand of the rapid test, presumably, to ensure it wasn’t a dodgy one), took photos of me with the test result and my health care care and processed everything for me. When I first said I was coming in to confirm a positive test, they all looked at me like I was the bogeyman, but for the remainder of the time I was there they interacted with me quite normally. I think I went into the clinic in between sessions in the middle of the day, so there weren’t actually people there waiting for doctors/appointments.
They actually didn’t ask for payment.
They offered meds, which I refused. They said they could give me a certificate of diagnosis if I wanted it for insurance, and I said I would take one (in case I need it for travel or proving I had COVID). You get a certification the next day by text message/downloadable link, but I got one anyway. That cost 200NTD.
So, I was able to avoid all of the hassle of downloading that app, navigating everything in Chinese, having to enter lots of details myself and all of the run-around Andrew describes.
The blog article, and @Andrew 's posts point to some useful things, like being prepared food wise, taking out the trash of if you suspect you might be diagnosed positive, having certain things on hand like toilet paper for potential diarrhea, maybe cough medicines (I bought those soother type things for the sore throat, and am glad I did), painkillers, and so on. I wish I’d purchased electrolytes for the diarrhea as I was passing a lot of water.
I also wish I’d thought about vitamins and supplements I would want to take and made sure I had those on hand. I have some, but overlooked not having any zinc on hand, and there others I’ve found in my research that I would have liked to have had available.
I had someone call me this morning (day 3), and they asked if I could speak Chinese, in Chinese, when I said no, they confirmed in English by asking the same question. When I said no, they said goodbye. So I’m not sure what they were calling about.
The quarantine period is essentially 8 days, which I can deal with. Definitely, having a rough plan and considering the basics discussed in this thread and the blog post is well worthwhile, so you’re not inconvenienced during the quarantine period.