TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Tuesday (Jan. 25) that Taiwan will stick to its zero COVID policy in an attempt to eliminate Omicron from communities.
Although the spike in COVID cases seen over the weekend seemed to subside early in the week, infections tied to Omicron clusters continue to appear in both northern and southern Taiwan. During a press conference on Tuesday, Chen said the country will continue to its zero COVID policy in an attempt to stamp out the new variant.
Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, was cited euronews on Monday (Jan. 24) as saying that Europe is headed toward "a kind of pandemic endgame" with 60% of the population likely to have been infected with Omicron by March. When asked by the media on Tuesday if he believes Taiwan can eliminate the virus with a zero-case approach, Chen said, "Currently, we are still using the zero-case method. From the inside out and the outside in, we are actively trying to control the outbreak."
Chen added that the CECC can monitor the infection rate in Europe and "observe their practices and some of their consequences for reference."
When asked about the large numbers of people returning home for the Lunar New Year, Chen said that the public should exercise caution, "but there is no need to panic." He advised people to avoid crowded places and follow basic epidemic prevention such as as mask-wearing and frequent handwashing.
As for year-end parties, Chen recommended people maintain a social distance and wear a mask when not eating. He pointed out that a solution some companies have adopted is holding their year-end parties online.