“We hope people can cooperate and support it…this may be the very important last mile,” Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung said.
By Lee I-chia / Staff Reporter
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 cases of COVID-19 and 85 deaths, saying the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 fell to a new low this month.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said 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 BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of SARS-CoV-2, among other risk factors.
Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Labor Bureau
Relaxing mask regulations have been discussed at CECC meetings, but crowd flow has increased over the past two weeks and the number of new local cases remains at around 40,000 a day, Chen said. .
“We hope people can cooperate and endure it – wearing a mask properly – for a bit longer, because this may be the very important last mile,” he said.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), head of the CECC’s disease surveillance division, said 42,112 new local cases and 92 imported cases had been reported, including 227 cases with moderate or severe symptoms and 85 confirmed deaths.
CDC Deputy Director General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy chief of CECC’s Medical Response Division, said 81 of those who died had underlying health conditions, while 51 of them were elderly. 80 years or older.
Two men in their thirties died, he said, adding that they both had cancer and were unvaccinated.
One died of pneumonia, respiratory failure and metastatic cancer, while the other had been in hospice care and tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to a confirmed case in hospital, Lo said, adding that the man died the following day because his cancer condition had worsened.
Yesterday, the number of people in designated COVID-19 hospitals fell to 5,631 from a peak of 7,592 on June 6, Lo said.
Yesterday’s figure was the lowest since May 31, he added.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is steadily falling across the country, marking the end of the infection plateau, he said, adding that the number of people in intensive care units is also falling. constant.
Asked about a doctor’s remark that deaths from COVID-19 are expected to fall below 100 a day early next month, CDC Deputy Director General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the door spokesperson for the CCCB, agreed that it was likely.
However, confirmation that the deaths are related to COVID-19 may lag behind the date of death, so the daily death toll can sometimes exceed 100 because of this, he added.
Asked when people can resume “normal life,” Lee Ping-ying (李秉穎), head of the ministry’s advisory committee on immunization practices and a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases, said the local outbreak is difficult to predict, as Taiwan faces the first wave of a large outbreak, which could continue for months.
The Omicron wave lasted three months in Japan, four to five months in South Korea and more than six months in New Zealand, Lee said, adding that experts have differing opinions on trends and countries have had different experiences.
While new variants of SARS-CoV-2 may emerge, waves of infection are expected to hit Taiwan periodically, like seasonal flu, so disease prevention measures are still needed, he said.
It could take years for people to coexist with the virus without having spikes in cases, Lee added.
Regardless of other countries’ experiences, the CECC is focused on “living with the virus while minimizing harm” by having an adequate supply of vaccines and antivirals, increasing the effectiveness of prescription drugs, managing confirmed cases and close contacts, monitoring the country’s border controls, and effectively allocating hospital beds for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, Chen said.
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