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Taiwan reports 721 domestic COVID-19 cases, including backlog (update)

ROC Central News Agency

05/22/2021 05:28 PM

Taipei, May 22 (CNA) Taiwan on Saturday reported a total of 723 COVID-19 cases, of which 321 were new domestic cases, two were new imported cases, and 400 were domestic cases delayed by a reporting backlog of confirmed test results, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The 721 domestic cases included 384 cases in New Taipei, with 103 reported in Banqiao District; and 269 in Taipei, of which 174 were in Wanhua District, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at a press conference.

Twenty of the cases were reported in Taoyuan, 11 in Taichung, nine in Keelung, five in Pingtung, and four each in Changhua and Kaohsiung, said Chen, who also heads the CECC.

Additionally, three cases each were reported in Yilan, Hsinchu City and Hualien, with two in Hsinchu County and one each in Tainan, Miaoli, Nantou and Yunlin, Chen said.

Of the total, 100 cases were linked to a cluster involving hostess teahouses in Wanhua District, while another 258 had recently visited the Wanhua area, according to Chen.

The origins of 80 of the cases are still unknown, while 121 had "unclear links" to other cases, and 155 were under investigation, the CECC said.

Regarding the group of 400 cases, Chen said that there had been a "bottleneck" among local health authorities in reporting cases due to the high number of confirmed cases in recent days.

CECC officials compiled the outstanding cases late Friday after confirming the numbers with local health authorities, and then revised the official daily case counts for the last week based on when the unreported cases tested positive, he said.

As a result, the official number of domestic cases has been raised from 206 to 245 for May 16, from 333 to 406 on May 17, and from 240 to 325 on May 18.

Meanwhile, the number of domestic cases was increased from 267 to 359 for May 19, 286 to 360 on May 20, and 312 to 349 on May 21, CECC data showed.

Given the backlog, Chen said, the CECC has also simplified the process for reporting new cases, reducing the required information fields to eight from the previous 20.

In separate remarks, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) largely confirmed this explanation, saying that both the testing and reporting process needed to be expedited as the number of new cases climbs.

Meanwhile, despite the large number of cases revealed on Saturday, Chen maintained that the outbreak in Taiwan has not "exploded."

In terms of testing, he said, the nationwide positivity rate has fallen from a high of 6.3 percent on May 15 to between 2.2.-2.9 percent over the last few days.

However, that period has also coincided with a major expansion in the number of tests being performed, which would be expected to result in lower positivity rates.

Meanwhile, Taiwan on Friday reported two new imported COVID-19 cases, which involved a Taiwanese and an U.K. national.

To date, Taiwan has reported a total of 3,862 COVID-19 cases, of which 2,701 have been domestic infections, the vast majority of which have been reported since May 15, according to CECC data.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Chen Yi-hsuan and Matthew Mazzetta)

Enditem/AW



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