The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 21 new domestic COVID-19 cases, including one that links two clusters of unknown origin in Taoyuan.
The two clusters, which were recorded earlier this week, involve a preschool and a Chien Tu Hot Pot (錢都日式涮涮鍋) restaurant in the city’s Bade District (八德).
Taoyuan health authorities have found that the clusters are linked by a woman in her 60s who dined at the restaurant on the same day as several previously recorded cases and whose grandson attends the preschool, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.
The combined cluster involves 23 cases, including eight confirmed yesterday.
The genome sequence of the cases matches other cases of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in Taoyuan, Chen said, adding that the CECC is still investigating the chains of infections.
The Taoyuan outbreak early this month originated from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, with related clusters in a social club, factories, a bank, a steakhouse and, most recently, the Farglory Free Trade Zone (遠雄自由貿易園區).
It is the nation’s largest active cluster, with more than 250 cases, CECC data showed.
The second-largest active cluster is linked to the Port of Kaohsiung, with 72 cases, including eight reported yesterday.
The Kaohsiung cluster is suspected to have begun with a maintenance worker who came into contact with people on board a Sierra Leone-flagged vessel.
Chen said that there are two other active clusters: one centered on a man in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) and one centered on Evergreen Resort Hotel Jiaosi (礁溪長榮飯店) in Yilan County, with both recording one case yesterday.
Six and nine cases are linked to the respective clusters, he added.
The remaining three domestic cases reported yesterday were Taoyuan residents whose source of infection is unknown, Chen said, adding that health authorities are looking into how they contracted the disease.
Of the new domestic cases, 12 were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, seven were unvaccinated, and the vaccination status of two cases is still under investigation, the CECC said.
The center also reported 43 imported cases, including 15 who tested positive upon arrival in Taiwan on Wednesday.
The CECC did not release information on the vaccination status of the imported cases.
Chen on Wednesday said that the CECC is not considering a ban on dining at restaurants, despite recent cases having been traced to restaurants.
If the CECC ordered the closure of all places where infection could occur, it would affect people’s livelihood, Chen said.
Places where confirmed cases contracted the virus would still be ordered to close temporarily while contact tracing is conducted, Chen said.
Taiwan has confirmed 18,566 COVID-19 cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, including 14,994 domestically transmitted infections.
The US Department of State yesterday criticized Beijing over its misrepresentation of the US’ “one China” policy in the latest diplomatic salvo between the two countries over a bid by Taiwan to regain its observer status at the World Health Assembly, the decisionmaking body of the WHO. “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to publicly misrepresent U.S. policy,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter. “The United States does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle’ — we remain committed to our longstanding, bipartisan one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, Three Joint Communiques, and
FATES LINKED: The US president said that sanctions on Russia over Ukraine must exact a ‘long-term price,’ because otherwise ‘what signal does that send to China?’ US President Joe Biden yesterday vowed that US forces would defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack in his strongest statement to date on the issue. Beijing is already “flirting with danger,” Biden said following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, in which the pair agreed to monitor Chinese naval activity and joint Chinese-Russian exercises. Asked if Washington was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, he replied: “Yes.” “That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said. “We agreed with the ‘one China’ policy, we signed on to it ... but the idea that it can be
‘TOO RESTRICTIVE’: Ending US sales of weapons that do not fall under the category of ‘asymmetric’ would hamper Taiwan’s defense against China, two business groups said Taiwan’s weapons procurement decisions are made based on its needs, and are not influenced by individual arms dealers, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday after two US business groups questioned a US official’s comment on arms sales to Taiwan. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Regional Security Mira Resnick told the business groups via video link on Saturday that Washington would adjust the types of weapons sold to Taiwan and end “most arms sales to Taiwan that do not fall under the category of ‘asymmetric.’” The American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan and the US-Taiwan Business Council on Monday
Local COVID-19 cases are expected to continue rising in the upcoming week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported a record-high 85,310 new domestic cases and 41 deaths. Daily case numbers had remained in the 60,000s for the past six days before surging about 30 percent yesterday, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said the number of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests conducted on Tuesday also marked a record-high of 112,915, with a