The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 219 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and 22 deaths.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the 219 local infections — 117 male and 102 female — were aged from under five to over 100 years old, and they began having symptoms between May 22 and Monday.
New Taipei City reported 123 cases, followed by Taipei with 54, Miaoli County with 16, Taoyuan with 13, Keelung with eight, Changhua County with two, and one each in Hsinchu City, Taichung and Tainan.
The 22 deaths were 15 men and seven women, who were aged between 30 and over 100.
The numbers of confirmed cases yesterday and on Monday were about the same, fewer than in the preceding weeks, and the positivity rate at rapid screening stations also declined in the two days, which are good signs, Chen said.
“However, we cannot afford to let our guard down now,” he said, adding that the center strongly urges people to stay home and avoid traveling during the Dragon Boat Festival long weekend.
Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), who is deputy head of the center, said the total number of bookings on the high-speed rail between Friday and Monday next week has fallen to fewer than 50,000 and to about 30,000 for Taiwan Railways Administration trains.
Providing an update on the cluster infections at electronic companies in Miaoli County, Chen Shih-chung said that 243 cases of COVID-19 infection had been confirmed at three companies, including 210 cases — 170 migrant workers and 40 Taiwanese — at King Yuan Electronics Co (京元電子), as of Monday evening.
The company has resumed operations with reduced capacity after all the migrant workers were placed in isolation.
About 5,000 Taiwanese employees are to be tested again on Friday and Saturday, he said.
About 960 foreign employees at King Yuan Electronics with higher infection risk have been isolated at centralized quarantine facilities, while another 1,027 foreign employees have been isolated in single-room dormitories. They are to receive a second test today, he said.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the center’s medical response division, said that test positivity rates on Monday dropped to about 1 percent in New Taipei City and about 2.55 percent in Taipei, much improved from last month, but it indicates that there are still infected individuals in local communities who need to be found.
He said the risk of passing on an infection within households was between 40 and 45 percent in Taipei and New Taipei City last week, so a main goal this week is to rapidly remove infected individuals from their homes, and to quickly identify and isolate their close contacts.
Asked about reports that a woman, whose family of five have all been infected, had claimed that her mother required intubation and had been treated in an intensive care unit for more than a week, but still had not received the broad-spectrum antiviral medication remdesivir, specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) showed a table of medication recommended for COVID-19 patients under different conditions and said that remdesivir is only recommended for patients who are hospitalized and on oxygen support.
Remdesivir is no longer recommended for intubated patients or those relying on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, as studies have suggested that it might even increase the mortality rate of patients under such conditions, he said.
It is a misconception to think that remdesivir is the only life-saving medicine available to COVID-19 patients, as corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone, and monoclonal antibodies have also reduced the mortality rate in patients, and these types of drugs are also available, he added.
EMBRACE CHANGE: Jensen Huang told NTU graduates that instead of worrying about AI itself, they should worry that people with expertise in AI would be taking their jobs Artificial intelligence (AI) is redefining the computer industry, and Taiwanese companies could play a major role in replacing the world’s traditional computers as they are the foundation of the industry, Nvidia Corp cofounder and CEO Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) said in Taipei yesterday. Huang made the remarks while giving the keynote speech at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) commencement ceremony. AI has created immense opportunities, and versatile companies can be expected to take advantage and boost their position, while less flexible firms would perish, he said. “In every way, this is a rebirth of the computer industry and a golden opportunity for the companies of
‘ARCHAIC’: An interpretation of a law that considered Chinese as Taiwanese nationals was scrapped after the death of a Chinese in Kaohsiung led to state reparations An administrative mandate to consider Chinese as Taiwanese citizens was outdated, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said yesterday, a day after the Executive Yuan ordered that agencies disregard the 30-year-old interpretation. Chen made the remarks at an event held by the Environmental Protection Administration in Taipei following changes to the administrative mandate concerning the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例). The previous interpretation of the law was archaic and contrary to the workings of laws and regulations, he said, adding that the order was made to avoid unnecessary problems created by the mandate. The Mainland
NOT BUYING IT: One of the goals of Beijing’s Cross-Strait Media People Summit was to draw mainstream media executives to discuss the ‘one country, two systems’ formula Taiwanese news media insist on press freedom and professionalism, and would never become a tool of China’s “united front” campaign, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said yesterday, responding to media queries about the lack of Taiwanese media executives at the Cross-Strait Media People Summit in Beijing. Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Chairman Wang Huning (王滬寧) was reportedly furious that no Taiwanese media representatives attended a scheduled meeting with him on Thursday last week. “Beijing should take Taiwan’s determination to pursue freedom and democracy seriously. We also hope that it will not use vicious means to interfere with Taiwan’s development into a
IMMIGRATION REFORM: The legislative amendments aim to protect the rights of families to reunify, and to attract skilled professionals to stay and work in Taiwan Foreigners who are highly skilled professionals, top-prize winners in professional disciplines, investment immigration applicants or have made special contributions to Taiwan can soon apply for permanent residency on behalf of their spouses and minor or disabled children after the legislature approved amendments to the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法). The amendments, which were proposed by the Ministry of the Interior and approved by the Executive Yuan on Jan. 12, aim to attract foreign talent to Taiwan and encourage them to stay. They would take effect once they are signed by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The amendments involved changing 63 articles, making it the biggest