About 35,500 rooms are expected to be available at quarantine hotels and centralized quarantine facilities for Taiwanese returning to the nation from abroad between Dec. 14 and Feb. 14, up from 29,600 rooms announced previously, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) early this month said 26,000 rooms were available at quarantine hotels and that the CECC planned to make 3,600 rooms available at government quarantine facilities.
The center announced the capacity expansion at an inter-ministerial meeting on COVID-19 prevention at the Executive Yuan yesterday morning.
Photo courtesy of the Executive Yuan
The CECC told the meeting that COVID-19 cases and deaths are increasing globally, Executive Yuan spokesperson Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said in a news release.
The domestic COVID-19 situation is under control, but the circumstances in many neighboring nations are severe, the CECC said.
Most of the recently imported COVID-19 cases had been infected with the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, it said, as it urged people to remain vigilant and called for the continuation of tight border control controls.
The CECC would this week announce its decision whether to extend or downgrade a level 2 COVID-19 alert on Tuesday next week, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy chief of the CECC’s medical response division.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, has said the alert level would be lowered along with an easing of border controls.
However, as the government is about to implement new quarantine measures for the Lunar New Year holiday, the alert level is unlikely to be lowered soon, he said.
Separately yesterday, Chen said the center is working toward administering a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as a booster shot next year, adding that frontline healthcare workers, airport workers and high-risk groups would be prioritized.
The plan is for people to receive a third dose of the same brand of vaccine as their first two doses, he said, adding that the details would be discussed by specialists.
Booster shots would be voluntary, Chen said.
CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, said the details would be discussed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting this month.
The government has signed a contract with Moderna to purchase 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine or an updated variant booster vaccine candidate, which would be offered as a third shot, Chuang said.
Negotiations to purchase more AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are ongoing, he added.
The CECC yesterday reported three imported COVID-19 cases in travelers who arrived from Germany, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Two of the cases are vaccine breakthrough infections, while the other had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine after contracting the disease in July, Chuang said.
Additional reporting by CNA, with staff writer
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