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Taiwan announces 180 new local COVID cases

Central Epidemic Command Center says outbreak stems from single source, not new variant

(Taiwan News, Venice Tang image)

(Taiwan News, Venice Tang image)

UPDATED: 12:09 p.m., Saturday, May 15

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Saturday (May 15) there are 180 new domestic cases of COVID-19.

New Taipei City and Taipei City have now raised their COVID-19 alerts to Level 3 until May 28. CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that all leisure and entertainment venues across the country have shut down.

He also announced, during a press conference Saturday morning, that no religious activities are allowed. Additionally, all university campuses are closed to the public, CNA reported.

Chen said COVID-19 alerts for other counties and cities are still at Level 2 and advised the public to avoid unnecessary travel between Level 2 and Level 3 areas. The positive screening rate in New Taipei City and Taipei City's Wanhua District now ranges from 3 to 10 percent, he added.

The CECC head also said the safety measures currently in place are not enough to protect the public from COVID and they must be upgraded to control the epidemic.

Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that Saturday’s surge in confirmed cases comes from a single source, and it is not a new variant. The command center will implement new epidemic prevention measures shortly, he added.

Su stressed that everyone must follow coronavirus safety measures in order to protect the nation. He also said that he is grateful for the public’s unity and cooperative spirit over the past year to guard against the epidemic.

COVID-19 alert Level 3 measures include:

  • Wearing of masks at all times outdoors
  • Indoor gatherings limited to five people
  • All places of business and public venues are shuttered, with the exception of essential services, police departments, hospitals, and government buildings
  • Masks and social distancing required at all businesses or venues that remain open
  • In areas where community transmission has taken place, residents are restricted to a set perimeter and must submit to COVID-19 testing