The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged people to download the Taiwan Social Distancing App (臺灣社交距離) to help the nation’s efforts to trace COVID-19 transmission chains.
The highly transmissible Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 requires a more efficient approach to tracing contacts of confirmed cases, so the center would focus more on promoting the app, which notifies users when they had been near an infected person, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.
The app, first introduced in May last year, was developed by the center and artificial intelligence developer Taiwan AI Labs.
Photo: Tien Yu-hua, Taipei Times
Chen said that about 6 million people have downloaded the app, which is available for free for Apple iOS and Android devices.
The CECC hopes that the number of users would increase to more than 12 million, Chen said, adding that widespread use of the app would greatly help tracing contacts of cases who have visited mass events.
Taiwan yesterday reported 431 new domestic cases, the CECC said, adding that four of them have moderate symptoms.
Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center
Yesterday was the 10th consecutive day with more then 100 new domestic cases, and the second straight day with more than 400 local cases.
Chen said that the daily case count might continue to climb, as fewer COVID-19 tests were conducted over the weekend.
Yesterday’s domestic cases were spread across 18 cities and counties, with New Taipei City reporting the highest number, 143, followed by Taipei with 67 and Taoyuan with 45, CECC data showed.
Pingtung County reported 31 cases, Keelung reported 28, Kaohsiung reported 26, Tainan reported 20, Yilan County reported 14, and Hsinchu and Hualien counties each reported 13 cases, it showed.
Taichung reported eight cases, Hsinchu City reported seven, Chiayi City reported six and Yunlin County reported three, while Miaoli, Nantou, and Chiayi counties each reported two cases, and Taitung County reported one case, the data showed.
Of the 3,546 domestic COVID-19 cases reported nationwide from Jan. 1 to Saturday, 12 had moderate symptoms, and two had severe symptoms, while the rest had mild or no symptoms, said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division.
The four new cases with moderate symptoms were two men in their 60s and 80s who received three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, a man in his 70s who received two doses and a woman in her 50s who is unvaccinated, Lo said.
The four cases are hospitalized with pneumonia, with some having reduced blood oxygen levels, Lo said.
The CECC defines severe cases as those with acute respiratory distress syndrome or septic shock, or those who are treated in intensive care units for any COVID-19 symptom, Lo said.
Those who have mild pneumonia or blood oxygen levels of less than 95 percent are classified as moderate cases, he said.
The CECC also reported 144 new imported cases, including 83 travelers who tested positive on arrival.
To date, Taiwan has confirmed 27,410 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in early 2020, including 18,579 local cases, CECC data showed.
With no deaths reported yesterday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 fatalities in the country remained at 854.
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