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Fourth Omicron wave causes spike in Taiwan COVID cases

New Omicron variant leads to spike in new cases: Masks still required in medical institutions

New COVID Omicron strain leading to spike in cases. (Pixabay image)

New COVID Omicron strain leading to spike in cases. (Pixabay image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said serious COVID cases are on the rise due to the Omicron XBB variant replacing BA 2.75 as the dominant virus strain, per a CDC press release.

Due to a spike in cases, the public is still required to wear masks when going to medical institutions. The public is also encouraged to monitor their health as the CDC expects the fourth COVID Omicron wave to reach its peak at the end of June.

Last week, the CDC said there were 129 confirmed local COVID-19 Omicron cases. Among this group, 72 cases were XBB, 53 cases were BA.2.75, with three cases of BQ.1, and one case of BA.5. Another 67 cases were imported from overseas.

During the past four weeks of monitoring, XBB has become the mainstream Omicron virus strain in Taiwan, and its continued rise requires close observation as XBB is thought to be resistant to vaccines and can trigger breakthrough infections.

The CDC warns the public that since lifting COVID restrictions, the disease continues to pose a threat to public health. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself with booster vaccine doses available to people over 65 years of age.

Furthermore, to protect the health of the public and health workers, medical institutions, clinics, pharmacies, general nursing homes, and welfare institutions for the elderly continue to be listed as places where masks are required to be worn.

Other places such as long-term care institutions, veterans’ homes, children's and juvenile service institutions, and welfare institutions for the disabled, and ambulances will be classified as places where masks are recommended to be worn rather than required beginning May 31.