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Taiwan reports eight new COVID-19 cases, mulls easing restrictions

ROC Central News Agency

08/30/2021 05:41 PM

Taipei, Aug. 30 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Monday that Taiwan recorded eight new COVID-19 cases, and that it plans to ease certain restrictions after the current Level 2 COVID-19 alert expires on Sept. 6.

Of the eight new cases, three were transmitted domestically and five contracted overseas, according to the CECC.

The three domestic cases, all reported in New Taipei, tested positive when accompanying either friends or relatives to a hospital, New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) said at a press briefing.

One of the cases has a known source of infection, and health authorities are still investigating the source of the other two, Hou said, adding that the three patients all have relatively high CT levels, which indicates they were infected some time ago.

As for the family cluster in Sanxia District reported Sunday, Hou said that antibody tests show the 10 infected individuals contracted the disease at least a month ago.

The city has tested 2,324 people who are potential contacts or who live in the same neighborhood as the family members, and the results have all come back negative, Hou said.

Meanwhile, the five imported cases reported Monday, involved three Taiwanese, a Danish national and a Philippine national who recently traveled to Taiwan from Indonesia, Thailand, the Netherlands and the Philippines.

At the CECC press briefing, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said the current Level 2 COVID-19 alert will likely remain in place past its current expiration date of Sept. 6.

However, some small restrictions might be lifted after that date, including allowing people to use showers in sporting venues and easing passenger number restrictions on trains, Chen said.

Currently, Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) and Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) trains can only carry 70 percent of the standard number of passengers.

The CECC first raised the COVID-19 alert to Level 2, the third-highest level on its four-tier scale, on May 11, when officials announced that Taiwan had entered the community transmission stage of the disease.

The alert was raised to Level 3 on May 19, after the country saw a surge in domestic cases. It was lowered back to Level 2 on July 27, and after two extensions is now due to expire on Sept. 6.

The CECC has continued to lift restrictions under the Level 2 alert as domestic case numbers have lowered, but Chen has warned that the alert may remain in place until the end of the year if the global COVID-19 outbreak is not brought under control.

To date, Taiwan has confirmed a total of 15,991 COVID-19 cases, 14,361 of which are domestic infections reported since May 15, when the country first recorded more than 100 cases in a single day.

With no new deaths reported Monday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 fatalities in the country remained at 834, with all but 12 recorded since May 15, CECC data showed.

Around 42 percent of Taiwan's 23.5 million population has received one COVID-19 vaccine shot, and 3.7 percent have received the two doses needed to be fully vaccinated.

(By Chen Chieh-ling, Chiang Hui-chun and Chiang Yi-ching)


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