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Taiwan's January Omicron cases 'an appetizer' for February

Health expert says Omicron 'main course' will be served in February

Residents of Taoyuan City wait in line to undergo COVID tests on Jan. 18. 

Residents of Taoyuan City wait in line to undergo COVID tests on Jan. 18.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — January's Omicron cases in Taiwan are just an "appetizer" for February, a health expert predicted on Monday (Jan. 17).

As Taiwan's local COVID cases rise back to double digits, Chu Nien-feng (祝年豐), the former director of the Ministry of Health and Welfare's Taitung Hospital, on the radio program Situation Room (少康戰情室), asserted that given the transmission speed of the Omicron variant, the current situation with the local cases has not reached its peak. He warned that the latest outbreak of Omicron cases is "just an appetizer" and that the "main course" will be served over Lunar New Year.

Chu said that given the large movement of people from north to south during the holiday, case numbers will likely rise significantly in late January and early February. He also questioned whether the CECC is trying to implement a zero-COVID policy or one of coexisting with the virus.

He pointed out that to achieve a zero-COVID status, cases must be eliminated at the airport and quarantine hotels, but there have been several cluster infections in the hotels. He observed the government wants zero cases but is not implementing a thorough enough policy to achieve it.

Chu cautioned that if the center wants people to coexist with the virus, the public is not yet psychologically prepared, in his opinion.

Updated : 2022-05-26 00:03 GMT+08:00