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CECC predicts Taiwan's COVID cases will peak next week

Lo says positivity rate steady at 66.7%, but number of people being tested has risen

Philip Lo. (CECC photo)

Philip Lo. (CECC photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday (May 18) predicted that Taiwan's COVID cases will likely peak next week.

After reporting around 60,000 COVID cases for six consecutive days, Taiwan exceeded the 80,000 mark for the first time. At a press conference that day, CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that there 85,310 new local COVID cases, of which 183 were moderate-to-severe (153 moderate, 30 severe), as well as 41 deaths and 46 imported cases.

Chen said that based on what has been seen overseas, case counts will fluctuate from day to day, with numbers often being affected by the number of people tested. The 80,000 reported on Wednesday represents a 30% increase from the 65,000 reported Tuesday (May 17).

The CECC head said that based on the overall direction and magnitude of this wave of cases, it will continue to develop for a period of time and the 85,000 cases reported Wednesday do not yet represent the peak. Due to the public transit system, Chen said it is inevitable that the epidemic will shift from northern to central and southern Taiwan.

Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the Central Epidemic Command Center's (CECC) medical response division, said that the current domestic positivity rate with PCR tests is about 66.7%, which is similar to previous data, indicating that the rate has not increased. However, Lo said that the number of people undergoing COVID testing reached a new high on May 16, with about 113,000 PCR tests administered.

Lo suggested that the increased number of people getting tested may be related to the opening of large-scale testing stations in northern Taiwan and the intensification of the outbreak in the central and southern regions. Lo said that the local epidemic may reach its peak next week and that preparations are being made based on this estimate.

Prominent psychiatrist Shen Cheng-nan (沈政男) pointed out on Tuesday (May 17) that based on COVID case numbers over the past week, infections appear to be plateauing in northern Taiwan while steadily increasing in southern parts of the country. When asked to comment on this assertion, Lo said cases in northern, central, and southern Taiwan have all increased and that outbreaks in the six special municipalities are still on the rise.