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Taiwan reports 18 new COVID-19 cases; 390,000 book Medigen shots

ROC Central News Agency

08/17/2021 05:27 PM

Taipei, Aug. 17 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday reported 18 new COVID-19 cases, and said that over 390,000 people have made appointments to receive Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp.'s locally developed COVID-19 vaccine.

Of the new cases, four were transmitted domestically and 14 were contracted overseas, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at the CECC's daily press briefing.

The domestic cases included two each in Taipei and New Taipei cities, of which two had a known source of infection and two were being investigated, said Chen, who also heads the CECC.


Of the 14 imported cases, nine were among a group of 71 Taiwanese citizens who returned on a charter flight from Myanmar on Sunday, amid a severe COVID-19 outbreak in that country, said deputy CECC chief Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥).

The other five imported cases involved people who had recently arrived in Taiwan from the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, CECC data showed.

The new cases bring the total number in Taiwan to 15,880, of which 14,317 are domestic infections reported since May 15, when the country first recorded more than 100 COVID-19 cases in the single day.

Tuesday was also the third consecutive day on which Taiwan reported no new COVID-19 deaths, meaning that the total number of deaths from the disease remained at 821, including 809 since May 15.


In terms of vaccines, Chen said that as of noon Tuesday, over 390,000 people had made appointments to get the locally developed Medigen COVID-19 vaccine, amounting to over 60 percent of those currently eligible.

Those eligible are people 36 years old and over or those aged 20-25 who suffer from rare or serious illnesses or injuries who previously indicated their willingness to get the Medigen vaccine on the government's vaccination appointment website.

Bookings for the current round, the first to include the Medigen vaccine, were opened at 10 a.m. on Monday and will close at noon on Wednesday. The shots will be administered from Monday through Saturday (Aug. 23-29) next week.

A total of 614,204 doses produced by Medigen have passed inspection by Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As of Monday, 9.2 million people in Taiwan had received their first dose of either the AstraZeneca or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, equivalent to 39 percent of the country's population of 23.5 million.

However, only 683,739 people, or 2.9 percent of the population, had received the two doses needed to be fully vaccinated, CECC data showed.


Meanwhile, Chen said that the CECC had convened a meeting Monday on plans for a digital "proof of vaccination" system, which could be unveiled as soon as the end of this month.

As the overall vaccination rate in Taiwan remains low, the system will likely initially only be used to prove one's vaccination status, rather than as a so-called "vaccine passport" necessary for entry to certain venues, he said.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Chiang Hui-chun and Matthew Mazzetta)


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