Four guidelines define the level of self-protection that Taiwan must achieve before reopening its borders, which have been shut to almost all non-residents because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday.
The guidelines are: sufficient COVID-19 vaccines; protection for communities, including masks and hand-washing; the capacity of hospitals and medical staff to fight outbreaks while caring for infected people; and sufficient medical supplies, Chen said in response to questions by Taiwan People’s Party Legislator Tsai Pi-ru (蔡壁如) at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
The borders are closed to keep the pandemic at bay, a policy that is supplemented with a 14-day quarantine for arrivals, Chen said.
Photo: Chiang Ying-ying, AP
However, depending on how the pandemic progresses in other nations, Taiwan’s policy might shift to focus more on self-protection, he said.
Tsai asked about the government’s strategy to obtain more vaccines.
Chen said that the government’s strategy has not changed.
Taiwan has researched its own COVID-19 vaccine through Medigen and while negotiations with other companies to have their vaccines manufactured in Taiwan have fallen through, talks are ongoing with others in the hope that such a deal can be made, he said, adding that the government is also looking into purchasing more vaccines.
Separately yesterday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported 12 new imported COVID-19 cases and one death, with no new domestic cases for the ninth consecutive day.
The 12 imported cases were seven males and five females aged 10 to 70 who arrived in Taiwan between Sept. 13 and Wednesday, the CECC said.
Four arrived from Myanmar, two from the US and one each from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and the UK, it said.
It was still investigating the travel origin of the remaining case, it said.
The person who died was a woman in her 40s with pre-existing conditions, it said.
Yesterday’s fatality brings the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Taiwan to 845. All but 13 of them have been recorded since the beginning of a surge in cases after May 15.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, told the CECC’s daily news briefing that gene sequencing had determined there was no link between a copilot infected with the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 and cluster infections in Pingtung County, Taoyuan and New Taipei City from June to last month.
Separately, a female junior-high school student who was comatose 11 days after receiving a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is in a stable condition and being treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said.
The student was diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammatory disease of the heart, after being admitted to a hospital, Taoyuan health officials said.
Asked about the student’s condition, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is CECC spokesman, said that she had reported no discomfort besides muscle pain in the three days following vaccination on Sept. 24, but developed a fever, shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat on Tuesday.
Cheng said the student’s reaction to the vaccine is considered severe.
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