TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) predicts that Taiwan will see 1,000 daily COVID cases by the end of April, and the command center is working on lowering the price of rapid antigen tests.
During an interview with BaoDao Radio (寶島聯播網) host Clara Chou (周玉蔻) on Tuesday (April 12), Chen estimated that based on the current epidemic situation, with over 400 cases for three days in a row, the number of daily local cases will exceed 1,000 by the end of the month. Chen said home rapid antigen test kits will be key to detecting the new cases in the expected surge and that the center will work to make them much more affordable.
Chen pointed out that since the Omicron outbreak began in Taiwan, cases have generally had "mild symptoms" as expected. While the incubation period for other COVID variants was seven to 14 days, the incubation period for Omicron is typically only three days, with only about a day and a half from infection to transmission, making it difficult to conduct timely contact tracing.
The CECC chief said that because Omicron symptoms are much milder, it is becoming more likely that confirmed cases are missed. Therefore, more self-testing by the public is needed, he added.
However, Chen acknowledged that rapid antigen tests have been criticized for being too expensive, noting the price of a commercially available rapid antigen test kit is around NT$300 (NT$10). To lower the cost, Chen said the government will purchase a large number of the test kits and coordinate with domestic manufacturers to increase the supply.
Chen emphasized that there is no need to rush to stock up on kits now. In the near future, the price should drop to below NT$200, he said.