Starting today, the travel advisory for all countries would be lowered to level 2 — “alert” — but people are still advised to get vaccinated and practice preventive measures when traveling abroad, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 52,338 new local COVID-19 cases.
The CECC raised the travel advisory to level 3 — “warning” — on March 21, 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and advised people to avoid unnecessary travel abroad.
The downgrade is being implemented in coordination with today’s border reopening, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesperson.
New case counts could be underreported following the reopening, as many countries have reduced their COVID-19 testing capacity, he said.
The pandemic is still ongoing, and people should get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling to other countries and take personal preventive measures when abroad, he added.
Personal preventive measures include washing hands thoroughly and frequently, observing cough etiquette, wearing a mask when needed, and avoiding crowded places and areas with high infection risk, Chuang said.
The CECC yesterday reported 52,338 new local and 67 imported cases, and 37 deaths.
Chuang said the local caseload is the second-highest since an outbreak driven by the Omicron BA.5 subvariant of SARS-CoV-2 began in August, but it is 4.6 percent lower than Wednesday last week.
The youngest fatality was a one-year-old boy who did not have chronic health conditions and was unvaccinated, said CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division.
He was initially diagnosed with the common cold at a clinic, but was found unresponsive the following morning, he said.
He was not breathing and had no pulse when he arrived at an emergency room.
He tested positive for COVID-19 post-mortem, with a high cycle threshold value of 37.5, indicating a very low viral load, Lo said.
His cause of death was COVID-19 and respiratory failure, he added.
Lo said 10,709 courses of oral antiviral drugs for COVID-19 treatment were prescribed on Tuesday, marking the highest daily number since the BA.5 outbreak began.
Reporters asked if eligibility for being prescribed the Paxlovid antiviral could be expanded to include people aged 12 or older, similar to South Korea.
Lo said South Korea on May 13 lowered the minimum age requirement to 12, but people still need to meet certain criteria to be eligible, such as having underlying health conditions, the same as in Taiwan.
Taiwan has relatively loose eligibility criteria for Paxlovid prescription, which include being aged 12 or older and having a high-risk health condition, Lo said.
People in New Zealand need to have three high-risk health conditions to be eligible for the drug and two conditions are required in Australia, while Singapore has set the minimum age for eligibility at 18, he added.
WAR FUNDING: A report by UK and Ukrainian defense analysts said that Taiwanese exports of a compound used in gunpowder have been helping Russia propagate its war About 20 percent of nitrocellulose — a compound used in gunpowder — imported into Russia has been sourced from Taiwan, a joint British-Ukrainian investigative report showed. Nitrocellulose is a key component of smokeless gunpowder, and the EU has banned export of the compound to Russia due to its ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine. The report said that nitrocellulose produced in Taiwan makes its way to Russia by passing through other countries such as Turkey. Only one company, T.N.C. Industrial Co (台硝), was named in the report, which also named China and Germany as key sources of the compound for
Individual tourists who arrive in Taiwan from tomorrow are eligible to receive limited-edition lucky bags to mark the Lantern Festival, Tourism Administration officials said yesterday. The Lantern Festival-themed lucky bags each contain a Year of the Dragon red envelope, a mini lantern, a NT$300 coupon for an amusement park ticket and a NT$500 Taiwan PASS coupon, the officials said. To get a lucky bag, visitors must present a passport or residence certificate and proof of their date of entry at a tourism center at either terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) or Kaohsiung International Airport, they said. The
FOOD FRACAS: Legislative Speaker Han Kuo-yu called for the premier to deliver the address at 10:27am, but KMT legislators swarmed the podium to block him Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday temporarily obstructed Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) from giving what is likely to be his last policy report to the legislature in protest at the Cabinet’s handling of food safety issues. The premier eventually delivered his report after a spat between caucuses about how and when Chen should deliver a special report on food safety. The KMT wanted the premier to make the special report yesterday, while the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) said that the legislature should hold an internal meeting on the issue today and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) proposed Friday. As they could not agree,
ROAD SINKING: The road surface of Qingcheng Street near the intersection with Xingan Street in Taipei’s Songshan District collapsed on Friday at about 9pm Grouting was yesterday used to repair a section of road in Taipei, after work on a construction site caused the surface to partially collapse on Friday evening, the Taipei Construction Management Office said yesterday, adding that nearby buildings were not affected. The road surface of Qingcheng Street near the intersection with Xingan Street in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山) collapsed at about 9pm on Friday. When police arrived they found four cars parked by the roadside tilting to one side. Police estimated the area that had subsided was about 4m by 30m, and was about 1.5m deep. They cordoned off the surrounding area