The sudden surge of the New Guan epidemic in Taiwan last month continues to slow down, with 60 new confirmed cases in Taiwan on Monday (June 28), a single-day low since the outbreak of the new wave and the implementation of the third level of alert; there were three deaths from the epidemic, bringing the total number of deaths from the epidemic since the outbreak to 635.
The last time there were less than 60 new local cases in Taiwan was on May 14, when 29 new local cases were reported. The number of new cases on Monday was the lowest in a single day since the declaration of alert level 3 in Shuangbei City on May 15 and in all of Taiwan on May 18.
Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center commander and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said at a press conference on Monday that the overall epidemic in Taiwan has been determined to move downward in terms of the number of days of incidence and confirmed cases, and the distribution of new cases in fewer counties and cities, “which is a good sign” and may also be related to the lower number of people taking tests over the weekend.
Chen Shizhong pointed out that the public seems to start to shut down on weekends, and the obvious increase in the flow of people is a hidden danger. He strongly urged people to avoid going out and minimize gatherings.
Asked when or under what circumstances the third level of alert could be lifted, Chen said that the third level is scheduled to be lifted in two weeks. In the meantime, he stressed the need to complete the preventive control measures implemented in traditional markets, wholesale markets and night markets. Chen said that Taiwan will also refer to the standard indicators of the World Health Organization and other international organizations before lifting the third level of alert. As for when restaurants in Taiwan can open for dine-in, Chen said that safety guidelines must be formulated first, and then on the basis of consensus, the Central Epidemic Command Center will consider gradual opening.
With the gradual slowdown of the epidemic in Taiwan, Taiwan’s progress in procuring and acquiring the new crown vaccine is also accelerating.
According to Taiwanese media reports, the third batch of 410,000 doses of Modena vaccine purchased by Taiwan will arrive in Taiwan this Wednesday (June 30). This will help Taiwan expand the speed and duration of vaccination.
Taiwan first contracted to purchase 5.05 million doses of Modena vaccine in February of this year. The first batch of 150,000 doses of Modena vaccine arrived in Taiwan on May 28; the second batch of 240,000 doses arrived on June 18; and a third batch of 410,000 doses arrived in Taiwan this Wednesday, making a total of 800,000 doses of Modena vaccine available to Taiwan. If we add the vaccine donated to Taiwan by the U.S. and Japan, which has already arrived, Taiwan has received 5.27 million doses of the vaccine.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released the results of a trial of the Modena vaccine in March this year, which showed that a single dose of Modena vaccine, regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms, provided 80% protection against infection; after completing two doses, the protection climbed to 90%.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Taipei Mayor Ko urged people to remain at home and take care to wear a mask. “The current vaccination rate in Taiwan is less than 10 percent, and we don’t have the capital to take risks.”