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Taiwan's 3rd COVID wave has peaked: CECC

Local COVID cases last week declined by 15.7%

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(CECC chart)

(CECC chart)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Monday (Jan. 16) said that Taiwan's third wave of COVID cases has peaked.

At a press conference that afternoon, CDC Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), head of the CECC’s disease surveillance division announced that the 15,409 local COVID cases reported that day represented a 9% decrease from the same day last week. Head of the CECC Victor Wang (王必勝) said that local COVID cases in the second week of January decreased by 15.7% compared to the first week, indicating that the peak of the third wave has passed.

Wang said the center anticipates that cases will rebound over the Lunar New Year. However, he said it is not yet possible to confirm whether there will be a fourth wave.

Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC's medical response division, announced that of the most recent cases to be genetically sequenced, 31 (45%) were the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron, 28 (41%) were BA.2.75, four were BQ. 1(6%), three were BF.7 (4%), and two were XBB (3%). Lo said that this shows that the percentage of infections caused by BA.5 has fallen below 50% for the first time and BA.2.75 is starting to catch up.

Lo said that BA.5 and BA.2.75 are the two most prevalent subvariants in Taiwan now and will likely continue to dominate during the Lunar New Year holiday. He pointed out that the emerging subvariants BQ.1, BF.7, and XBB that received attention last week did not account for more than 10% of the samples sequenced.

Lo said that in terms of imported cases, the dominant strain coming from the U.S. is BQ.1, while the major strain emerging from China is BF.7, with a few cases of the latter arriving from Japan as well. Lo stated that in other Asian countries, XBB is more common.