According to the latest announcement by Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center, the New Guan epidemic continues to slow down in Taiwan, with 21 new confirmed cases of the disease in Taiwan on Monday (July 19), of which 15 are local cases and 6 are imported cases from abroad; there was one new death. The continued slowdown of the epidemic makes it increasingly likely that the command center will announce a lowering of the epidemic alert from the current level 3 to level 2 on July 26.
At a press conference on Monday, the commander of the Epidemic Command Center, Minister of Health Services Chen Shih-chung, was asked if he would be concerned that lowering the alert from Level 3 to Level 2 while the epidemic is still spreading in Northern Taiwan and the number of confirmed cases has not yet been cleared would put Taiwan in a difficult situation of “lifting and closing” the alert. The company’s response was to admit that there is indeed community transmission and that it is very difficult to clear it completely.
“We are very happy to be able to clear it, and all people are very happy,” Chen said. However, he stressed that the main factor in not aiming for zero and considering whether the epidemic alert should be downgraded is to control the epidemic. According to Chen Shizhong, coupled with the ability to respond in a timely manner and adequate medical capacity, the most important thing now is that the competent executive units need to establish guidelines and have the right concept of epidemic prevention measures.
For the first year or so after the outbreak of the new epidemic, Taiwan’s epidemic prevention and fighting performance has been very good, and was once hailed as a “model student” in fighting the epidemic. However, in early May, Taiwan’s epidemic prevention suddenly broke down, with a sudden surge in the number of confirmed cases and deaths, forcing the authorities to raise the full alert level from Level 2 to Level 3 in mid-May.
Taiwan’s current Level 3 alert requires people to wear masks at all times when they go out, and no more than five people should gather indoors, while no more than ten people should gather outdoors.
At the time of the sudden outbreak in Taiwan, the vaccination rate was less than 1%; however, the United States and Japan subsequently provided nearly 5 million doses of emergency vaccine assistance to Taiwan, and the Taiwanese government has accelerated the pace of vaccine procurement, with even TSMC and Hon Hai stepping in to purchase vaccines for donation to the government, and the percentage of Taiwan’s vaccinated population has now exceeded 20%.
With the epidemic slowing down, the Epidemic Prevention Command Center announced on July 13 the implementation of micro-unsealing on the basis of the current Level 3 alert, moderate opening of restaurants and outdoor scenic play areas, in order to strike a balance between epidemic prevention and people’s livelihood.
Prior to Chen’s regular press conference on epidemic prevention on Monday, Taiwan’s Executive President Su Zhenchang held an expanded epidemic prevention meeting to discuss epidemic prevention materials, medical resources, epidemic development, epidemic alert level adjustment and deregulation of various industries. At the meeting, Chen said that after the three-level alert epidemic prevention measures were moderately loosened from last week, the epidemic has slowed down and is close to being lowered to a two-level standard because most people can cooperate with the relevant guidelines.
Executive President Su said at the meeting that the global epidemic continues to heat up and Taiwan’s border control still needs to be strictly enforced. He pointed out that with the cooperation of the public, Taiwan has been able to control the epidemic slightly and develop in a good direction, but cannot be taken lightly, and future controls should be gradual even if downgraded.
On the same day, Taiwan’s own high-end vaccine research and development also made a major breakthrough, and received Taiwan’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), and the Ministry of Health and Services also approved the manufacture of special projects. High-end said that after obtaining the emergency use authorization, it will actively start overseas layout, accelerate overseas phase III clinicals, and to start negotiations with countries interested in high-end vaccines.