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99.7% of Taiwan's COVID cases asymptomatic or mild

Rate of severe illness highest in people over 70

Philip Lo. (CECC image)

Philip Lo. (CECC image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday (April 1) announced that over 99% of cases in Taiwan this year have been asymptomatic or mild, amid a spike in COVID cases with the Omicron variant.

CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced 104 local COVID cases, the most since 130 were reported on June 24, 2021, 281 days ago. Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, provided the results of the latest gene sequencing and case observation results.

Lo said that an analysis of 1,266 local cases from Jan. 1 to March 31 found that 99.7% of Taiwan's COVID cases have been asymptomatic or mild. However, he said the fatality rate and proportion of severe cases were higher in people "over 70 to 80 years of age" and therefore urged the elderly to get vaccinated as soon as possible to strengthen their immune response to the virus.

According to Lo, 45 individuals imported this week were confirmed to be infected with the Omicron variant, with travelers mainly coming from Southeast Asia, but also Australia, the U.S., and Europe. He said that many of these countries are now primarily seeing the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron.

Of the local COVID cases reported since January, Lo said that 0.24% were classified as moderate to severe and the fatality rate is eight out of 10,000. He then reiterated the fatality rate is higher among people aged 70 and over.

This is consistent with overseas data. He added it is important for the elderly to get two to three doses of the COVID vaccine to strengthen their protection against the virus.