by Brian Hioe

Photo Credit: Foxy Who/WikiCommons/CC

46 DOMESTIC CASES and 46 imported cases, along with zero deaths, were reported by the Central Epidemic Command Center at its daily press conference today. 

Of the imported cases, 25 cases were found on arrival, and 21 cases were found while in quarantine. 

12 of the new cases from today were linked to the Port of Kaohsiung. Contact tracing is relatively clear there, with this being individuals working in the port, close contacts, as well as a gathering in the port. One case that is linked to the Port of Kaohsiung cluster but lives in Tainan infected his family members there, so is classified along with these cases. 

29 cases were reported in Taoyuan. With second-round testing among workers at the Askey Computer Corporation, five new cases were found in connection to this. Nine cases linked to Askey tested in quarantine were found to be positive. Fourteen cases were found in connection to Askey today, then, consisting of seven Taiwanese and seven foreigners. 

Infographics on the new cases today. Photo credit: Ministry of Health and Welfare/Facebook

Work is still halted at Askey. Though other companies may return to work, the CECC will oversee divided work shifts and dining times. Testing in the vicinity of the Farglory Free Trade Zone has not found any cases. 

Fourteen other cases in Taoyuan were primarily due to the spread of COVID-19 between clusters. This includes a retiree in Longtan previously confirmed infected three others they were dining with, a solar power worker previously confirmed infected their mother, and two sisters previously confirmed infected spread COVID-19 to two cousins and an uncle. Four other cases are through a school. One case in Taoyuan had no clear links to other cases. Though the source of infection for some of these clusters was previously unknown, they have now been found to have eaten at the same restaurant. 

Two individuals that ate with individuals who are part of the Yilan cluster became infected, as well as a client of a real estate agent. This client, a magazine editor who works for Louis Vuitton, infected others that they ate with. A kindergarten teacher who was infected in this way will have their workplace infected. The magazine editor case has been widely reported on, due to the fact that they were diagnosed late with COVID-19 despite repeated visits to doctors. 

A Far Eastern Memorial Hospital patient and their son were found to have been positive. The son could have potentially transmitted Omicron to their mother. 

323,645 were vaccinated yesterday. This is around 170,000 BNT vaccinations, 125,000 Moderna vaccinations, and 20,000 Medigen vaccinations. First dose vaccination is at 81.37%, second dose vaccination at 74.02%, booster shot at 19.16%. Booster shots will be available for individuals that need to travel abroad earlier if needed. 

In the current round of vaccinations, 1,479,000 slots are available, and 290,000 have made appointments, which is close to 20%. 670,000 or so Moderna doses are available, with 30% of available appointments made. Medigen has 117,000 doses available, with 15.7% of appointments made. 664,000 BNT doses are available, with 8.44% of appointments made. AstraZeneca has 26,000 doses available, with 3.97% of appointments made. 

Contact tracing map for the cases reported today. Photo credit: Ministry of Health and Welfare/Facebook

1.5 million doses of Moderna that arrived in Taiwan are from Taiwan’s purchase of 20 million doses of Moderna. Taiwan will see a shipment of BioNTech in the next two days and Taiwan is currently negotiating with BioNTech about further vaccine purchases. 

When asked about the possibility of a shift to level 3 or shutting down of indoor dining, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen stated that most cases are within work sites, and that transmission chains are mostly clear. There is no opposition from the CECC to the notion of removing barriers at restaurants or having divided seating, but there is no requirement to do so. Taoyuan has announced, however, that dining will reduced by one-half, masks are required outside of eating, and karaoke is suspended in restaurants. Elementary schools and kindergartens will begin winter holidays early. Unvaccinated individuals are called on to reduce attendance at gatherings.

When asked about graduate school exams and if they will be rescheduled, Chen states that it’s up to education authorities, the CECC can provide assistance. When asked about wedding banquet venues not allowing for refunds because of the lack of indoor dining, Chen stated that it is up to the venues.

According to the CECC, there are around ten different strains of COVID-19 circulating in Taiwan currently, with four in Taoyuan. The strains in greater Taipei and Yilan are different from the Port of Kaohsiung or Taoyuan International Airport, meaning that these are unrelated. 

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