The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported no new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections for the first time since before the nation’s biggest outbreak began in May.
“The confirmed local cases today are zero,” said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “It was not easy.”
“I believe everyone is happy about this zero, but it doesn’t mean that COVID-19 is completely cleared in Taiwan,” Chen said. “There is still a long way to go, but this zero means that the local COVID-19 situation is relatively stable.”
Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center
The last time that the center reported zero local cases was 108 days ago, on May 9, but a local outbreak occurred shortly afterward, prompting Taipei and New Taipei City to be placed under a level three COVID-19 alert on May 15, followed by a nationwide alert on May 19.
“We can maintain this situation if precise contact tracing is conducted for each sporadic case,” Chen added.
Asked if COVID-19 restrictions would be further eased, Chen said: “Today is a good start, but it is important to observe the situation over the next two weeks.”
Photo courtesy of the National Palace Museum Southern Branch
People should not let their guard down, he said.
People arriving from other countries can still bring the virus with them, so border controls must be strictly implemented, Chen said, adding that illegal immigrants and smugglers are also a transmission risk, as they do not quarantine.
The center would work closely with the Coast Guard Administration to reduce the risks, he said, adding that people should immediately report any suspected illegal immigrants and smugglers to the authorities.
The center reported one imported case, an arrival from South Africa, and a death, a woman in her 70s who had underlying health conditions. She died on Sunday.
Chen said that many countries have reported a high prevalence of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 when asked about reports that several travelers from Taiwan had tested positive for the variant in Xiamen, China.
Seventeen people in Taiwan had been infected with the Delta variant, but the cases were brought under control, he added.
Chen said that while he cannot be certain that the Delta variant is not spreading locally, the likelihood is very low.
Given what is happening in other countries, the Delta variant is very contagious and can become the dominant strain in a short period, but so far it has not been detected in local cluster infections, he said.
Asked whether Taiwanese can obtain special approval for a foreign family member without a residence permit to enter the nation, Chen said that such cases are handled case by case on humanitarian grounds.
Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), who is deputy head of the center, said that foreigners have been banned from entering Taiwan since March 19 last year, but that the government has allowed some with special circumstances to enter the country on business or humanitarian grounds, such as they need emergency medical treatment or they have a spouse who is about to give birth.
Asked whether a foreigner who is the unmarried partner of a Taiwanese would be considered for entry, Chen Shih-chung said that couples, whether married or not, can apply to the Taiwanese consular office in their country, and the office could assess the necessity of their visiting Taiwan.
The most important thing is that all arrivals strictly comply with disease prevention rules, he added.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday issued a rebuttal to former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who said a fistfight in the Legislative Yuan might have been “provoked from the outside” to destabilize Taiwan. Rice made the comment in an online discussion about the AUKUS alliance of Australia, the UK and the US hosted by the Policy Exchange forum in London on Thursday. On mention of Taiwan, she was quoted by The Australian as predicting that Beijing would use paramilitary forces and acts of sabotage to destabilize the nation. “There was a fistfight in the Taiwanese parliament a few weeks ago
A Taiwanese YouTuber suspected of creating and selling deepfake porn videos featuring more than 100 politicians and influencers was on Monday released on bail after being arrested the previous day. Chu Yu-chen (朱玉宸), 26, who uses the name Xiaoyu (小玉) on YouTube, was arrested on Sunday in New Taipei City, along with two suspected accomplices, a 24-year-old YouTuber surnamed Yeh (耶), known as Shaiw Shaiw (笑笑), and a 22-year-old man Chuang (莊). The three suspects were on Monday escorted to the New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for further questioning on suspicion of distributing obscene videos and publicly insulting others, in contravention of
CHINA WORRIES: A source said the AIT held a meeting at which Taiwan lawmakers and US officials discussed expediting shipments of arms that were paid for Taiwanese officials have reportedly reached out to the US to discuss the possibility of expediting the delivery of F-16 jets to Taiwan, CNN said on Friday. While the “Pentagon’s Indo-Pacific Command has watched with increasing concern as China has rapidly modernized its military and improved its training with an eye to Taiwan,” the US Department of State is wary of taking a more aggressive stance against China, a CNN report said. US President Joe Biden’s “administration has discussed with Taiwanese officials the possibility of expediting the delivery of American-made F-16s to Taiwan, according to Taiwanese and US officials familiar with the talks,”
FAMILY: While the CECC agrees ‘in principle’ to allowing entry to foreign spouses and children of foreigners in Taiwan with a residence permit, the issue is still being reviewed A nationwide level 2 COVID-19 alert is to be extended for two weeks until Nov. 1, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, adding that agencies are still discussing whether to allow foreign spouses and children of foreigners in Taiwan with a residence permit to enter the nation. “In principle we agree to relaxing the entry regulations for the group, but relevant agencies are still reviewing and discussing the matter,” said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. The center on Sept. 13 eased border restrictions for foreign dependents of Taiwanese nationals. They can apply