The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced an easing of its “3+4” — three days of quarantine and four days of “self-disease prevention” — policy that would allow inbound travelers, from Sept. 1, to spend the last four days at their home under the “one person per room” principle.
At present, travelers can stay at a quarantine hotel or at home under the principle of “one person per residence” for the four days of self-disease prevention.
“In principle, the room for the ‘one person per room’ should be equipped with an independent bathroom,” said Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the center, adding that people cannot move to a non-quarantine hotel during those four days.
Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center
In addition, “people who return home for the following four days will no longer need to apply to change location with the local government,” Wang said. “Other requirements of the ‘3+4’ policy remain the same.”
The policy change was announced early to give travelers time to reconsider and make changes to their quarantine hotel reservations, he said.
The CECC will observe the changes in quarantine hotel occupancy for about two weeks next month before deciding whether to further raise the cap for inbound travelers, he said.
As returning home and staying in a room for those four days would increase the risks of infection for family members, the traveler should thoroughly follow disease prevention regulations, including avoiding direct contact or eating meals with their family during this period, he added.
The CECC also reported 15,596 new local infections and 196 imported cases, and confirmed 33 moderate-to-severe cases and 22 deaths.
Wang said the new Omicron BA.5 subvariant of SARS-CoV-2 is expected to spark a surge in local cases in about two weeks, and the center’s simulations predict that the daily local caseload might increase to between 30,000 to 60,000.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said that among the new severe cases, a six-year-old boy tested positive for COVID-19 on June 6, and on Aug. 4, developed symptoms of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.
Giving an update on the center’s weekly virus strain surveillance, Lo said the first locally acquired BA.4 infection was confirmed last week — a man in his 30s living in northern Taiwan.
The man’s three family members have also tested positive for COVID-19, and genome sequencing will be performed to confirm if they are BA.4 cases, he said.
Thirty-three new local cases of BA.5 were confirmed last week — 22 in northern Taiwan, eight in central Taiwan and three in southern Taiwan, Lo said, adding that it was the first time locally acquired BA.5 infections were detected in central Taiwan.
Among the genome sequenced local cases, 15 percent were infected with BA.5 — about 17 to 19 percent in northern Taiwan and 6 percent in southern Taiwan — showing that BA.5 is becoming more dominant in the local communities, he said.
All 33 cases showed no symptoms or were mild cases, he said.
Lo said 87 imported cases were found infected with new Omicron subvariants last week — 79 cases of BA.5, five cases of BA.4 and three cases of BA.2.75 —accounting for 96 percent of the sequenced imported cases.
The BA.5 is the dominant strain circulating around the world.
AGGRESSION: China’s latest intrusions set a new benchmark for its ‘gray zone’ tactics and possibly a new pattern that it would attempt to normalize, a researcher said China’s latest military exercises represent a new challenge to Taiwan’s legal authority to demarcate its borders in the Taiwan Strait, a defense expert said, adding that the fleets in the latest exercises were likely the most powerful the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ever assembled. The PLA conducted military exercises from Sunday last week to 6am on Friday, which encompassed large swathes of the western Pacific, including the Taiwan Strait and waters off the Philippines and Guam, National Policy Foundation associate research fellow Chieh Chung (揭仲) said on Friday. The Ministry of National Defense said that it detected 70 warship and 162 aircraft
DOMESTIC MARKET: To protect the livelihoods of local egg farmers, the government adopted a new method for releasing imported eggs, the agriculture minister said More than 54 million imported eggs will be disposed, as their expiration date has passed, Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday. Chen made the remarks at a news conference in Taipei, explaining the flow of imported eggs following recent controversies regarding the products. The ministry introduced a special egg import program to address a nationwide egg shortage earlier this year. However, controversies have risen in recent weeks. These included an accusation that the government helped some egg importing companies over others, eggs imported from Brazil that had an incorrect expiration date, and egg shipments from Brazil that were found
PACIFIC OCEAN: Defense experts have warned that the ‘Shandong,’ China’s second largest aircraft carrier, poses a serious threat to eastern Taiwan’s defenses The drills conducted by the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong in the Western Pacific last week were more aimed at showcasing China’s military capabilities to the US rather than toward Taiwan, a Taiwanese defense expert said yesterday. Lin Yin-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies, said the drills which involved dozens of warplanes sought to test China’s anti-access and area denial capabilities should the US and its allies attempt to interfere in a cross-strait conflict. Lin said that the latest Chinese drills coincided with a joint maritime exercise conducted by the US, South Korea
Thousands of bottles of Sriracha have been returned or destroyed after the discovery of excessive sulfur dioxide, a bleaching agent, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday. About 12,600 bottles totaling 9,991.8kg of the hot sauce imported from the US by Emporium Corp (河洛企業) were flagged at the border for containing illegal levels of sulfur dioxide, the FDA said in its regular border inspection announcement. Inspectors discovered 0.5g per kilogram of the common bleaching agent and preservative, higher than the 0.03g permitted, it said. As it is the first time within six months the product has been flagged, Sriracha products from