The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced no new cases of COVID-19, adding that a ban on mask exports would be lifted soon under three conditions.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 401 people from among the nation’s 440 confirmed cases have been removed from isolation.
Yesterday was the 12th consecutive day that no new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Taiwan, and the 37th day of no new domestic cases.
Photo: David Chang, EPA-EFE
“As our local communities have gradually become safe, we should not become careless,” Chen said. “We should continue to take personal protective measures and observe the guidelines of the new disease prevention lifestyle.”
The nation’s success at preventing and controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus is like having passed a “mid-term exam” with good grades, but passing the upcoming “final exam” depends on how well people practice the new lifestyle, as well as on the development of vaccines and medication, Chen said.
Several biotechnology companies in Taiwan have already made many “preparations” to this end, and some companies have also made progress, Chen said, adding that he hopes they can keep cooperating with the government.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
Chen was asked when the ban on mask exports might be lifted, after saying on Monday that mask manufacturing companies could start taking overseas customers’ orders.
“The storage for requisitioned surgical masks is now full and we are searching for more storage space, so opening up the sale of masks is one direction, but there are certain steps to get there,” he said.
Chen said that there are three conditions that should be met before lifting the ban: A fixed proportion of masks to be requisitioned must be set, the national medical stockpile must be kept full and Taiwan must have the capacity to help other countries in need.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs is discussing a reasonable requisitioning proportion with mask manufacturing companies, and once the negotiations are done, the export of masks would resume, he said.
Asked if the CECC is worried about a second outbreak occurring as China has ended its lockdown of Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said he believes that China’s COVID-19 situation might have been more serious than it claimed, but he is not so concerned if Wuhan only had the outbreaks it reported.
However, as the Chinese government has a habit of concealing information, Taiwan remains on high alert, he added.
Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) visited the CECC yesterday morning to invite officials to her inauguration ceremony today.
She also gave CECC officials “hero noodles” provided by Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲), saying that they are all “heroes” to the public.
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