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Taiwan to continue opening up despite COVID case spike: Premier

Su proposes 'New Taiwan Model' for living with COVID that puts epidemic prevention and economy on parallel tracks

Premier Su Tseng-chang.

Premier Su Tseng-chang. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said Friday (April 1) that despite the surge in local COVID infections, the country can continue to open up under a "New Taiwan Model" given the high vaccination rate and low percentage of severe cases.

During a press briefing outside the Legislative Yuan that day, Su was asked by the media whether the country is considering raising the epidemic prevention alert to Level 3. Su responded that the government does not currently have any plans to raise the alert level, unless there is a sudden major outbreak.

Su pointed out that there is an adequate supply of COVID vaccines, the vaccine coverage rate is very high, and there are sufficient medical resources. He also emphasized that the Omicron variant is often mild and asymptomatic, which should enable the government to steadily ease restrictions under a "New Taiwan Model" that takes "epidemic prevention and the economy in parallel."

He predicted that the number of confirmed cases will increase but that as long as the population is well-vaccinated, the risk to the community will be low. In order to return to normal life as soon as possible, "we must take some costs and risks while keeping an eye on various changes that may occur and adjust to the situation," said Su.

On Sunday (April 3), he further elaborated on the "New Taiwan Model," defining it as "normal life, active epidemic prevention, steady opening, wearing masks, frequent handwashing, and vaccination." He reiterated that this is predicated on sufficient medical care.

He emphasized that 99.7% of Omicron cases in Taiwan have been mild or asymptomatic, and he therefore called on the public not to worry as the government steadily opens the country up for "normal life."