The government’s autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program is to continue beyond Sunday, but eating and drinking on high-speed trains would be allowed from Monday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that while there were no new confirmed cases in Taiwan yesterday, the global COVID-19 situation remains serious, so the autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program would be extended beyond its Sunday deadline.
“Border control measures, including requiring a negative polymerase chain reaction test result obtained within three days of boarding a plane to Taiwan, and undergoing quarantine in a designated hotel, centralized quarantine facility or one person per housing unit if at home, will continue to be implemented,” he said.
Wearing a mask in eight types of public venues would also be required, and healthcare professionals would continue to adopt the expanded standards for reporting suspected COVID-19 patients for testing, Chen said.
High-speed rail passengers would still be required to wear a mask when not eating or drinking, he added.
Reporters asked Chen about a remark by online news outlet My-Formosa.com president Wu Tzu-chia (吳子嘉) during a radio interview yesterday that the CECC negotiated with Jacobson Medical (Hong Kong) Ltd (雅各臣香港) to purchase Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines in December last year.
Chen said that Jacobson Medical on Sept. 18 last year expressed its wish to negotiate a deal, so the center asked it to provide an authorization document, and TTY Biopharm Co Ltd (台灣東洋藥品) offered a 14-day limited authorization from Nov. 9 last year.
However, as the center could not reach an agreement with TTY Biopharm Co before the deadline, negotiations could not continue, he said.
Chen said that the CECC also replied to Jacobson Medical in Taiwan, expressing its thanks to Jacobson Medical Hong Kong for providing information about the vaccines, but as it did not provide a legal authorization document, negotiations could not continue, he said.
Chen said the center held six meetings with BioNTech in August last year and twice in November, through e-mails and conference calls.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, said BioNTech contacted the CDC on Nov. 11 last year, and five teleconferences were held in November and December.
No other company attended the meetings, he said.
Separately yesterday, as students returned to their classrooms, the Taipei City Government said that 285 campuses in the city had completed disinfection and up to a year’s worth of epidemic prevention supplies had been stocked at the schools.
Taipei Municipal Yongchun Senior High School said it has replenished its mask stocks and gave seven masks to each student as a back-to-school gift.
Several universities also launched disease prevention measures for the new semester starting this week.
Soochow University has launched an e-sticker system for contact information registration at its campus entrances, while National Chengchi University and National Taiwan Normal University are enforcing access controls and real-name registration at their campus entrances.
Additional reporting by CNA
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