The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced that a level 3 COVID-19 alert has been extended by two weeks until July 12, while it reported 104 locally transmitted cases and 24 deaths.
The alert was first issued in Taipei and New Taipei City on May 15, and expanded nationwide on May 19. It was originally due to end on Monday next week, but it was extended for the third time yesterday.
“The level 3 alert will continue to be implemented until July 12,” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) told a news conference at noon.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
“Although the situation has improved during the alert period, it has not reached our goal yet,” said Chen, who heads the CECC. “Let us all continue to endure it for two more weeks and do our best to hopefully achieve a more stable situation after July 12.”
All of the restrictions remain the same, but six measures require enhanced implementation, Chen said.
The six measures include “conducting precise contact tracing” to identify close contacts and place them under isolation as soon as possible, he said, adding that it became more difficult to implement precise contact tracing and prompt isolation when local infections rapidly increased last month, but the situation has improved.
Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center
Immediate isolation can reduce virus transmission within households, but it can be difficult to cut chains of infection if contact tracing to identify close contacts at workplaces or in social circles is not thorough, he said.
The second measure — mandatory testing of people ending home isolation or quarantine — was announced on Tuesday, while the third is accelerating vaccinations in high-risk groups to reduce infections, serious complications and deaths, he said.
The fourth is “wide screening,” which includes performing tests at local community stations or at companies, as well as the use of at-home test kits, which came on the market yesterday, he said.
The fifth measure is “improving treatment of serious cases of COVID-19,” including importing medication and having experts discuss treatment methods regularly, he said, adding that the last measure is launching a special health monitoring program for the daily necessities sector, mainly markets.
Reporters asked whether the alert extension was due to cluster infections that have been reported at several venues in Taipei in the past week, including 54 cases linked to Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co (台北農產運銷) and 47 cases at a long-term care center in Shilin District (士林).
The clusters were considered, but the decision was “not directly linked to them,” Chen said, although he added that contact tracing in response to the clusters was not thoroughly implemented.
Hopefully, accurate contact tracing and prompt isolation would be improved in the next two weeks, he said.
The CECC reported 104 local infections, 45 males and 59 females aged from under five to over 90, whose symptoms emerged between June 10 and Tuesday.
New Taipei City reported 45 cases, Taipei 22, Hsinchu County and Kaohsiung nine each, Taoyuan seven, Miaoli County four, Keelung three, Yilan County two, and Changhua, Nantou and Pingtung counties one each, CECC data showed.
Of the 24 deaths, 15 were men and nine were women, with their ages ranging from 40 to 90, the data showed.
All but one of them had underlying health conditions, the data showed.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the CECC’s spokesperson, said that six people from Taiwan tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Xiamen, China.
Four of them were confirmed cases in Taiwan and had been released from isolation, while the other two tested negative more than once in Taiwan, Chuang said.
The CECC would conduct contact tracing to identify their close contacts in Taiwan, he said.
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
CROSS-STRAIT CONCERNS: At the same US Congress hearing, Mira Resnick said a US government shutdown could affect weapons sales and licenses to allies such as Taiwan A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail, while a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the US Congress on Tuesday. Growing worries of a conflict come as China has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan, holding large-scale war games simulating a blockade on the nation, while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said a blockade would be “a monster risk for the PRC [People’s Republic of China].” “It would likely not succeed, and it
AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISES: The defense ministry said that it had detected 24 Chinese PLA Air Force planes entering Taiwan’s air defense zone over the previous 24 hours Chinese movements around Taiwan were “abnormal,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday, flagging recent amphibious exercises in addition to drills Taipei has observed in China’s Fujian Province. Taiwan has reported a rise in Chinese military activity over the past week as dozens of fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships, have operated around the nation. “Our initial analysis is that they are doing joint drills in September, including land, sea, air and amphibious,” Chiu told reporters at the legislature in Taipei. The “recent enemy situation is quite abnormal,” he said. The comments followed a statement from the
IN MOURNING: Tsai visited the site and spoke with family members of those killed, while all the major presidential candidates said they would temporarily halt campaigning A fire and subsequent explosions at a golf ball factory at Pingtung Technology Industrial Park (屏東科技產業園區) killed at least seven people, including four firefighters, and injured 98, while three were still missing, authorities said yesterday. The blaze at Launch Technologies Co’s (明揚國際) plant on Jingjian Road raged for more than 12 hours after it started at about 5pm on Friday, officials said. The Pingtung County Fire Bureau early yesterday used large excavators to search for missing people, while family members waited at the scene. Pingtung County Fire Bureau Director Hsu Mei-hsueh (許美雪) said the bureau received a call about the fire at 5:31pm