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Taiwan to continue shortening quarantine despite surge in COVID cases: CECC head

Chen said that as cases continue to increase, it is growing increasingly impossible to trace their source

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Taiwan to continue shortening quarantine despite surge in COVID cases: CECC head

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Chih-chung (陳時中) said on Sunday (April 17) that the steps toward shortening the required COVID-19 quarantine time will not be stopped even if the number of cases continue to increase.

The number of Taiwan’s daily new COVID-19 cases has continued to grow, with some domestic experts estimating that Taiwan’s infection rate could reach as high as between 20–30% of the population, CNA reported. Chen said earlier this month that it is “not totally impossible” that accumulated COVID-19 cases in Taiwan will break the one million mark, emphasizing that the focus of the country’s epidemic prevention efforts will shift to reducing damage, strengthening vaccination programs, increasing the use of therapeutic drugs, and separating mild and severe cases.

It’s estimated that Taiwan’s infection rate will be close to those of Hong Kong and New Zealand, which are about 15–16% of their population, and that that percentage point would translate to over three million cases for Taiwan, Chen said during Sunday’s COVID-19 briefing.

He said close attention should be paid to whether confirmed case numbers grow exponentially in the next two weeks.

With regard to shortening quarantine time, Chen said many foreign countries have shortened quarantine for visitors to 5-7 days, and adjustments will be made according to the pandemic situation as well as consultation with experts, per CNA.

He went on to say that Taiwan has reported over 1,000 new local cases three days in a row. Some local health units have been tracing infection sources but, as cases continue to increase, it is growing increasingly impossible to track down the sources, Chen said.

In the future, after mild cases are taken care of at home, Pfizer’s oral medication for COVID-19 will be widely used to prevent mild cases from developing into moderate and severe cases, Chen said, adding that the oral antiviral drug will be delivered to those who need it in an appropriate way, per CNA.