Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) yesterday urged people not to engage in panic buying as the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported eight new cases of COVID-19.
Taiwan would “absolutely not” have shortages of daily necessities, Chen told a daily media briefing at the center.
There is no need for people to purchase or store items in excess, said Chen, who heads the center.
The next two weeks are the “greatest test” of the nation’s ability to contain the coronavirus, he said.
“I believe there are still many people who will be returning,” he said.
Aircraft continue to pose a “high risk” of contagion, he said, adding that the center was considering selling masks to arriving passengers.
“Almost 100 percent” of travelers entering the nation are wearing masks, he said.
With this week’s increases in the number of confirmed cases in the nation, there is considerable pressure on the healthcare system, Chen said, adding that the center’s focus over the next two weeks would be to prevent community spread.
Yesterday’s new cases brought the nation’s total number of confirmed infections to 108.
Seven of the new cases were imported, while one was locally transmitted, the center said.
The domestic case, the nation’s 103rd case, is a classmate of the 59th case, it said, adding that the two sit close to each other in class.
The 101st case is a man in his 70s who traveled to Egypt from March 3 to Thursday last week in the same tour group as the 55th, 63rd and 71st cases, while the 102nd case is a woman in her 50s who traveled to the US for business from Feb. 29 to Wednesday last week, it said.
The 104th and 108th cases, a woman and a man respectively in their 40s, were in the same tour group as the 61st and 72nd cases that traveled to Austria and the Czech Republic from March 5 to Saturday last week, the center said.
The 105th and 106th cases are both men in their 20s, it said, adding that the former was studying in France and returned on Tuesday, while the latter was studying in Spain from Jan. 5 to Tuesday.
The 107th case is a French citizen in his 50s who arrived on Sunday to visit relatives, it said.
As of Wednesday night, there were 85 Taiwanese tour groups abroad, none of which were in Japan or South Korea, said Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), who is deputy head of the center.
Taiwan has plentiful amounts of fruit, seafood and produce, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) wrote on Facebook later yesterday, encouraging people to buy more — and eat more — fruit and vegetables.
The nation is only using 60 percent of its tissue paper production capacity — more than enough to meet domestic demand, he added.
The government has asked major retail chains to restock their products more often, Su wrote, adding the Chinese-language hashtags: “Stocks are available. You can never buy them out.”
Additional reporting by staff writer
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