TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday (June 23) announced that the nationwide Level 3 restrictions will be extended through July 12.
At a press briefing Wednesday afternoon, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that the Level 3 measures originally set to end on June 28 will be extended to July 12. Chen said that although the number of new cases has shown a downward trend, they have not reached an acceptable threshold to justify lowering the alert level.
During the additional two weeks, Chen called on the public to be patient and work together to help bring the outbreak under control by mid-July. He said one of the keys will be to carry out contact tracing with each confirmed case.
He said that due to an explosion of cases over the past month, some epidemiological investigations were incomplete. Now that cases have started to diminish, it is critical that these investigations are thoroughly completed to break the chain of transmission.
Chen then reiterated that international arrivals will now need to take a PCR test one day before their quarantine expires. In addition, close contacts of confirmed cases will also be required to take a PCR test on the day before the end of their quarantine.
The CECC head said that those who test positive after quarantine should spend the additional isolation period in a quarantine center or epidemic prevention hotel if their home environment is not suitable for quarantine. During this extended Level 3 alert, Chen stressed the importance of increasing the percentage of people vaccinated in high-risk groups and expanding testing through rapid screening stations and home test kits.
He also pointed out that critical medical care must be strengthened. Chen said that through an online platform for critical COVID-19 cases, a number of expert advisory committees will provide opinions on the handling of critical cases by hospitals in order to reduce the mortality rate and increase the capacity for critical medical treatment.
In response to a sudden surge of cases in mid-May, the CECC first announced a Level 3 alert on May 15 for New Taipei City and Taipei, but it expanded it to the entire country on May 19. The alert was originally set to end on May 28, but on May 25, it was extended to June 14, and on June 7, it was extended again to June 28.