The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 37 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and two deaths as it said that people who hold a “Notice for Release From Isolation Treatment” (解除隔離治療通知書) should not be asked to provide a negative COVID-19 test result at certain venues.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the daily COVID-19 case counts have been falling, adding that there were two imported cases yesterday.
Of the 37 local cases, 13 tested positive during quarantine or upon ending quarantine, he said.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Eighteen cases were reported in Taipei, followed by New Taipei City with 11, Taoyuan and Changhua County with three each, and Yilan County with two cases, Chen said.
The two fatalities are a woman in her 70s and a man in his 80s, and both had underlying health conditions, he said.
The imported cases are a woman who returned from Cambodia and a man who returned from Indonesia, the CECC said.
They tested positive upon arriving at the airport, it said.
Regarding expanded testing at Taipei’s wholesale markets, Chen said 96 cases were confirmed at the First Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market (第一果菜批發市場) in Wanhua District (萬華), 23 cases at the Second Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market (第二果菜批發市場) in Zhongshan District (中山) and 110 cases at Huannan Market (環南市場) in Wanhua.
He said 182 close contacts of 41 cases at Huannan Market confirmed on Thursday have been isolated, and expanded testing of 787 people at a nearby poultry market and local residents found three more people who tested positive on Friday and Saturday, while contact tracing is ongoing.
The testing station at Huannan Market would continue to operate today, Chen said, adding that the outbreak at the market “is not out of control,” but contact tracing and testing must be enhanced, and COVID-19 screening must be repeated a few times to ensure the situation remains under control.
He said that 3,140 people were tested at the First Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market on Friday and Saturday, and 12 among them tested positive, but a screening of local residents found no infections.
Separately yesterday, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) announced that a special COVID-19 vaccination program for about 18,880 vendors at the city’s traditional markets would begin today, starting from the markets in Wanhua and Zhongzheng (中正) districts.
Regarding Ko’s decision last week to reopen some night markets in the city, Chen yesterday said that some local governments had previously closed down night markets, so they may conditionally reopen them while conforming to level 3 COVID-19 alert restrictions, given that they also follow a few key control measures.
The measures include reducing entrance and exit points; registering contact information; implementing crowd control by letting people in on alternating days based on the last digit of their national identification card; and ensuring a crowd density of one person per 2.25m2.
Meanwhile, Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said some people who recovered from COVID-19 have been unable to return to work, or enter nursing homes or certain venues, because they were asked to provide a negative test result from within seven days or a certificate of having received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
While not considered contagious, recovered people might still test positive three to four months after ending isolation, and they cannot be vaccinated for six months after being diagnosed with COVID-19, he said.
The CECC urges businesses not to put recovered people in a difficult position, Lo said, adding that they should accept the Notice for Release From Isolation Treatment as a certificate of recovery from COVID-19, and not ask people for a negative test result.
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