It is unlikely that the COVID-19 alert level would be lowered soon, as the virus survives longer in cold weather, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, although he added that it is possible restrictions might be loosened further.
Home quarantine rules would be relaxed for people in special circumstances, Chen told the daily news conference of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), which he heads.
Previously, people wanting to visit a sick relative or handle funeral arrangements had to apply to leave home quarantine once per day for up to two hours after presenting a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, but the new rules allow fully vaccinated people — those who have had a second COVID-19 vaccines at least 14 days earlier — to leave home for up to four hours per day with a negative PCR test, he said.
People who have not been fully vaccinated would only be permitted two hours, not counting transit time, he said.
Those needing more time could apply for it, he said.
Taiwan’s first-dose vaccination rate has reached 77.25 percent, with 206,906 doses administered yesterday, CECC data showed.
Nearly half of the eligible population, or 49.81 percent, has received two doses, a rate of 127.06 doses per 100 people, the data showed.
Young people are more likely to have received at least one dose, with the 18-to-29 age group leading the way with a 92 percent vaccination rate, the center said.
The 12-to-17 and 30-to-49 age groups had first-dose vaccination rates of about 89 percent, while the rate was 83 percent among those aged 65 to 74, it said.
The rate among those 75 or older was lower than average at about 73 percent, it said.
However, elderly people lead the way for those who have had two doses, with 77 percent of those aged 65 to 74 having had two jabs, the center said.
People aged 12 to 17 have not yet been eligible for a second dose in the nation’s vaccination program, while 44 percent of those aged 18 to 29 have had two doses, it said.
Reservations for the 15th round of vaccination closed yesterday afternoon, the CECC said, adding that 1.79 million out of the 4.09 million people who are eligible applied for shots.
The majority, or 1.43 million, have opted for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, it said.
Additional reporting by Lin Hui-chin
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