The man, a migrant worker from the Philippines, was quarantining in a hotel in Kaohsiung City when he briefly stepped out of his room into the hallway, the city's Department of Health told Taiwan's official Central News Agency (CNA).
The man was caught on CCTV by hotel staff, who contacted the Department of Health, CNA reported. The department fined him 100,000 Taiwan dollars — around $3,500.
Under Taiwan's quarantine rules people are not allowed to leave their rooms, no matter for how long.
If this happened in the United States, the backlash would be catastrophic.
Then again, our coronavirus response has been even more catastrophic, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths, compared to the, umm, 7 deaths out of 716 cases in Taiwan. Neither has Taiwan had to enact any large-scale lockdowns — instead, they took action in December 2019 to establish robust contact tracing and testing, with only mandatory quarantines for those travellers or those who might be infected. What a concept. There are also fines for not wearing masks in public places (about $500 USD).
This approach has been largely successful, too; in mid-November (the latest reliable data I can find), Reuters reported that the country had not reported any domestic transmissions of the virus for over 200 days. That being said, they have tightened some restrictions and procedures in the last month as numbers have skyrocketed everywhere, including a requirement that all travellers submit a negative test result within 3 days of arriving in the country (previously, Taiwanese citizens and resident aliens were exempt from the testing and quarantine requirement; foreign visitors, like our fined guy above, are still required to quarantine for 2 weeks).
Of course, here in America, things are different, because of that uniquely native export we have called "freedom."
Man fined $3,500 for breaking Taiwan quarantine for 8 seconds [Jack Guy and Eric Cheung / CNN]
Image: Geographyinitiative / Wikimedia Commons (CC 4.0)