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CECC seeks to contain COVID-19 cluster at Taipei wholesale markets

ROC Central News Agency

06/25/2021 09:09 PM

Taipei, June 25 (CNA) Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Friday that it is working to quickly identify and isolate new COVID-19 cases amid a growing infection cluster involving wholesale vegetable markets in Taipei City.

At a press briefing, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (ι™³ζ™‚δΈ­) said new infections continue to be found at Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corp.'s (TAPMC) First Fruit & Vegetable Wholesale Market, as well as at the nearby Huannan Market, both in the city's Wanhua District.

Earlier that day, Taipei City Government announced that another nine vendors at TAPMC markets had tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in quarantine orders for 13 potential contacts and the forced closure of 28 neighboring vendors for three days.

To date, a total of 65 cases have been found in markets operated by TAPMC, the largest wholesaler and packaging center for fruit and vegetables in Taiwan.

In response to the cases, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲), who oversees the TAPMC, said a number of measures were already being taken to contain the spread.

At the TAPMC's First and Second Fruit & Vegetable Wholesale Markets, PCR tests are being conducted on 5,022 vendors and contractors, of which 15 have come back positive, he said.

Notably, he said, the cases that have been found do not involve personnel who are registered at the markets, but rather unregistered employees working under them.

Meanwhile, a further 3,626 people are being tested at two wholesale markets in New Taipei's Sanchong and Banqiao districts, given their close links with the markets in Taipei, but all have come back negative so far, Chen said.

Since Thursday, all four of the markets have required proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid test in order to enter, while vendors and contractors at the markets have begun receiving COVID-19 vaccine shots, he said.

In addition, a total of 1,570 truck drivers and workers who deliver produce to the markets from other parts of the country will receive COVID-19 rapid tests in the coming days, with proof of negative results mandatory from June 28, Chen said.

Meanwhile, Taipei Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-shan (ι»ƒηŠηŠ) said Friday that the testing of 5,000-plus personnel at the two TAPMC markets had been completed earlier that day, and the city was assessing whether to carry out a second round of tests.

As of Friday, more than 2,000 vendors and contractors at TAPMC markets had scheduled a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, she said.

(By Liu Chien-pang, Chen Yi-hsuan and Matthew Mazzetta)


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