COVID-19 testing required for hospitalized people and accompanying caregivers might no longer be required after April 10, and the mask mandate on public transportation might also be removed in the second half of next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday.
The center reported 7,825 new local cases — a 7.3 percent decline compared with the caseload reported on Saturday last week — as well as 201 imported cases and 35 deaths.
Weekly local reported cases have declined for six consecutive weeks, from a peak of 183,486 in the week starting on Jan. 29 to 64,541 cases in the week starting on March 5, and to only 51,126 cases last week, CECC data showed.
As of yesterday, there have been 10,222,922 confirmed cases, including 18,732 deaths, reported in Taiwan since the pandemic began, the data showed.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), who is also the CECC’s spokesperson, yesterday said that the center would need to observe the policy of no longer requiring mild cases to be reported or to undergo mandatory isolation.
The new policy is to be implemented tomorrow, he said.
If the local COVID-19 situation remains under control after the five-day Tomb Sweeping Day long weekend, more regulations would be eased ahead of schedule, potentially as early as the middle of next month, he said.
Among the regulations that could be relaxed next month is the regular COVID-19 testing required for hospitalized people and caregivers, which could be scrapped on April 10, Lo said.
The mask mandate for visiting healthcare facilities would remain in place to protect vulnerable people in hospitals, he added.
The mask mandate on public transportation could also be removed in the middle of next month if the COVID-19 situation does not worsen after the long weekend, he added.
The WHO on Jan. 30 said that COVID-19 remains a public health emergency of international concern, but its International Health Regulations Emergency Committee is to hold a meeting to discuss the pandemic next month, after which it could declare an end to the international public health emergency, Lo said.
The US government also announced that it would end its COVID-19 public health emergency declarations on May 11, he said.
In keeping with the international perspective, Taiwan is planning to speed up its easing of COVID-19-related regulations, Lo said.
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