The central government should explain its COVID-19 policies and standard procedures so that local governments can execute them properly, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said yesterday.
The daily local COVID-19 case count has been above 100 for three consecutive days since Friday, when Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced the “new Taiwan mode” for fighting COVID-19.
The central government should strike a balance between disease prevention and economic growth, Su said.
Ko on Saturday said Taiwan can learn from the experiences of Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, but added that Hong Kong’s attempt to “live with the virus” while using “zero COVID-19” methods has proven seriously harmful.
The central government should clearly explain its policy and tell the public how many people it expects to become infected, as well as other negative effects, so that people can prepare for the development, Ko said.
Hou said that as part of the government’s goal to reopen the borders and maintain economic growth, mandatory quarantines have been shortened to 10 days, which might have led to undetected cases entering local communities.
The central government should say whether the goal is living with the virus or zero COVID-19, so that the local governments can better execute the plan, Hou said.
The “new Taiwan mode” is a term without tangible content, Ko said yesterday.
Echoing Hou, the Taipei mayor said: “The core of politics is execution, so the government should clearly explain whether it wants living with the virus or zero COVID-19, because giving an order without a standard operation procedure is empty talk.”
Hou yesterday said that the BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 spreads faster than previous variants, but most cases are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, so the New Taipei City Government is continuing to expand its contact tracing and testing efforts.
It focuses on finding undetected cases and blocking chains of transmission, Hou said.
Reducing the mandatory quarantine time might have led to more undetected cases in local communities, and the increasing number of migrant workers arriving also led to higher numbers of imported cases, he said.
Higher daily case counts are an inevitable burden for reopening, but all-out efforts must be made to fight COVID-19, he said.
Su yesterday said that although the new policy would certainly lead to an increase in cases, the government expects that up to 99.7 percent of them would be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.
People should not worry about the gradual reopening of the borders, Su said.
People should wear a mask, frequently wash their hands and get vaccinated against COVID-19, he said, adding that as long as the nation maintains sufficient healthcare capacity, people do not have to worry about higher case counts.
Additional reporting by Hung Chen-hung
RISK FACTORS: ‘We hope people can cooperate and endure it ... it is possibly the very important last mile,’ Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations are to remain the same next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The center reported 42,112 new local COVID-19 cases and 85 deaths, saying that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has dropped to a new low this month. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said that the center is keeping COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations the same due to the local virus situation, and an increase in the number of imported cases of the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2, among other risk factors. Easing
TRAVEL CONFERENCE: Representatives from the two countries exchanged views on how to increase tourist numbers, with one identifying individual travel as a trend Taiwan and South Korea aim to increase the number of tourists traveling between the two countries to 3 million, government and tourism industry representatives said at a conference in Hsinchu City yesterday. The annual event was attended by Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯); Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰); Taiwan Visitors Association chairwoman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭); South Korean Representative to Taiwan Chung Byung-won; Yoon Ji-sook, an official at the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; and Korea Association of Travel Agents chairman Oh Chang-hee. Global tourism is expected to soon rebound to between 55 and
DAMAGE CONTROL: The KMT in a statement called the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters,’ after Alexander Huang said China had the right to claim it as internal waters Lawmakers and experts yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) envoy to the US Alexander Huang (黃介正) of acting as China’s stooge, after he said that Beijing has the right to claim waters beyond its maritime territory as its exclusive economic zone and that the US has no legal basis to assert that the Taiwan Strait is an “international waterway.” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said in an online post that most of the world considers the Strait an international waterway, adding that this is important for safeguarding Taiwan. “We have seen US warships transiting through the Taiwan Strait.
The Taichung District Court yesterday sentenced to nine years in prison an unlicensed judo coach who caused the death of a seven-year-old student after slamming him onto the ground more than a dozen times. In its decision against the coach, a man surnamed Ho (何), the court cited his lack of remorse for using excessive force against an inadequately trained child and his failure to reconcile with the parents for his role in their son’s death. Speaking on behalf of the boy’s mother, Taichung City Councilor Jacky Chen (陳清龍) said the family would appeal to a higher court. Prosecutors said that Ho on