A British mother has created controversy by accusing the Taiwanese government of putting her daughter in a "prison-like" quarantine facility. In response, Taiwan's health official said while the quarantine center may not be comparable to the comfort of a hotel, the British woman, along with her boyfriend, have never been mistreated. In the face of mounting criticism, the couple apologized and the BBC report has been taken down altogether.
According to a BBC report, a British woman and her Australian boyfriend are complaining of being held in "prison-like conditions" in Taiwan. The couple was placed in quarantine for 14 days while transiting in Taiwan en route to Australia in early March. They say they have no hot water and the food is terrible and it's like being incarcerated.
Central Epidemic Command Center chief Chen Shih-chung responded saying the Taiwanese government has not mistreated anyone.
With regards to this quarantine center, we can say in no uncertain terms that Taiwan has not mistreated them. Any needs they have are relayed to us through their representative offices. We are willing to provide them with international assistance.
The center says the couple was placed in the Hualien quarantine facility, which charges just NT$250 per day for room and board, after they said they had no money. The facility is in a quiet, rural area and each 8-ping room has its own bathroom, water filter, and washing machine. Although rooms don't have televisions, there is Wi-Fi. After the British woman complained she was allergic to the food, facility staff changed her meals.
There were hotels that were willing to let them check in. However, they said they had no money. Our health bureau stepped in to help and asked them if they were willing to let us place them (in the facility). They agreed.
If these two (foreign nationals) suddenly remember they have money after all, we can of course arrange for them to move somewhere nicer.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refuted the claims made in the article and expressed "deep regret."
Following some negotiation, the BBC added an update that included a more balanced report and photos of the quarantine facility. Several hours later, the article was deleted altogether.