by Brian Hioe

Photo Credit: TaiwanKengo/WikiCommons/CC

34 DOMESTIC CASES, 93 imported cases, and zero deaths were reported at the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) daily press conference today. Only three of the domestic cases were found in quarantine. On the other hand, 55 of the imported cases were found on arrival, and 38 while in quarantine. 

This is down from 83 domestic cases reported yesterday, which was the highest number of domestic cases since June last year. The majority of cases were from existing clusters. 12 cases were added to the cluster in Keelung from a gathering of police officers, with 39 cases to date linked to this cluster. 

Keelung mayor Lin Yu-chang is currently in quarantine due to contact with police officers part of the cluster. Though Lin was originally only required to quarantine for three days, as a result of being thought to have minimal contact with infected police officers, this was later extended to ten days at Lin’s request. 

Infographic on the cases from today. Photo credit: Ministry of Health and Welfare/Facebook

This took place after it became less clear if this was the case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who heads the CECC, defended Lin today and stated that criticisms of Lin were unfair, while emphasizing the CECC’s assessment of quarantine periods. There have been some criticisms of the shift in quarantine period for Lin for what some read as an arbitrary shift. 

Other cases added in Keelung include two accountants that worked at police stations and a teacher at National Taiwan Ocean University. A school in Keelung where cases were found has been ordered to stop classes. 

11 more cases were found at a construction site in Taoyuan, presumably the Datan Power Plant. This was where 52 of yesterday’s domestic cases were found, primarily among Thai migrant workers. There are three main work areas at this construction site, the first of which has 56 workers, the second of which has around 700 workers, and the third of which has 20 or so workers. Chen called on the Ministry of Labor to provide more support for Thai interpretation in order to handle this cluster and stressed cooperation between government bureaus. 

Nevertheless, Chen stated yesterday that the Datan Power Plant cluster has relatively limited contact with the community. Chen reiterated today that the Keelung cluster is of greater concern, due to more complicated geography. As the cluster started at an eatery, over 200 eateries were ordered to close for three days in Keelung. 

Two other domestic cases added today are linked to a chemical factory in Kaohsiung. One case today was linked to a technology company in Shulin. Further cases were also added in connection with a family cluster in Taitung. 

There is some concern regarding infections on the same street in New Taipei, with fears regarding spread in the community, and overlapping traffic at a 7/11. There were also news reports at a sports gathering at a school with infected cases, but it was found that those cases did not have much contact with other students. 

Five older cases are now reclassified as domestic cases, due to infection at a quarantine hotel. This is thought to be due to doors remaining open between quarantine rooms. 

There are no new serious COVID-19 cases that have been added, with only three serious cases out of recent cases. Overall, there are eleven transmission chains of unknown origin in Taiwan currently. 

Contact tracing information for current cases of concern. Photo credit: Ministry of Health and Welfare/Facebook

The current COVID-19 measures will remain in place between April 1st and April 30th. Toasts for wedding banquets can only be held on a stage. Workers and customers at entertainment venues including nightclubs, KTVs, and bars with hostess services will now require three doses of vaccinations to enter, not just two. 

Vaccination remains low, however. Only 38,681 vaccinations took place in the last two days, bringing Taiwan to 83.37% for first dose vaccination, 78.21% for second dose vaccination, and 49.23% for booster shot vaccination. Chen stressed that supplies of medication used to fight COVID-19 are sufficient in Taiwan currently. 

When asked, Chen stated that he hoped to avoid a similar outcome to Hong Kong, in terms of maintaining control of the COVID-19 situation. Nevertheless, Chen stated that the general direction is still to loosen COVID-19 measures, just it is a question as to the pace of loosening such restrictions. 

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