The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a new daily record of 29 local COVID-19 cases, including seven cases with unknown sources of infection.
Of the 29 cases, 16 are linked to tea houses in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news briefing in Taipei.
The 16 are tea house workers or visitors, or their contacts, the CECC said.
Workers and visitors to the establishments have frequent interpersonal contact, but few protective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic are in place, Chen said, urging those who have been exposed or have symptoms to seek medical assistance.
People who suspect they have COVID-19 should visit designated testing and treatment facilities, instead of waiting or buying over-the-counter drugs for treatment, he said.
Pharmacists who encourage people to get tested would be rewarded if their action leads to the detection of a COVID-19 case, he said, without specifying a planned amount.
Cases No. 1,272 and No. 1,273 were first reported on Thursday night, when they were found at the Taipei City Hospital’s Heping branch, causing fears of a potential lockdown of the hospital similar to what happened there during the SARS outbreak in 2003.
Earlier yesterday, at a joint news conference with Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), Chen said that there were no plans to lock down the branch.
However, the branch has suspended services at its emergency room to disinfect the facility, Ko said, adding that its outpatient units are only open to people who have appointments.
Not all hospitals in Taipei are supervised by the city government, Ko said, urging the central government to open more hospitals to COVID-19 patients.
Of the 29 local cases reported yesterday, five are linked to a cluster infection linked to case No. 1,203, a Taiwanese man in his 60s who is a former president of a Lions Club chapter in New Taipei City’s Wugu District (五股), Chen told the CECC event.
The cluster comprises 25 cases. Case No. 1,229 — another member of the chapter — was found to have lied about his contact history, Chen said.
The man had reported that all his children are abroad, but it was found that his daughter lives in Kaohsiung, Chen said.
After the daughter learned about her father’s infection, she got tested, and the test was positive, Chen said.
Moreover, one local case reported yesterday had contact with a case linked to a cluster at the Galaxy Baccarat (銀河百家樂) gambling house in Yilan County’s Luodong Township (羅東), the CECC said.
As for the other seven local cases, their sources of infection are not known, it said.
The CECC yesterday reported five imported cases, two travelers from Indonesia, two from Paraguay and one from Albania.
Meanwhile, after local media reported that an employee at the Presidential Office was under investigation by the CECC, the office yesterday said in a statement that two relatives of the person on Thursday last week dined with case No. 1,203.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Vice President William Lai (賴清德) did not have contact with the employee, the office said, adding that both leaders are healthy and that their conditions are being monitored by medical experts.
In other developments, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that a medical charter flight from India arrived in Taiwan yesterday, adding that it brought back a diplomat working in India for treatment for COVID-19.
The diplomat, who works at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India, is one of two COVID-19 cases confirmed there on Monday, the ministry said, adding that the envoy is the third Taiwanese diplomat who was returned from New Delhi for COVID-19 treatment.
Additional reporting by Yang Hsin-hui and CNA
PRIORITY GROUPS: A line of people were waiting at the Good Liver Clinic, apparently to get shots, while the CECC announced more priority groups for jabs The Taipei-based Good Liver Clinic is to be fined NT$2 million (US$72,028) after giving free COVID-19 vaccine shots to people not in groups eligible to receive them, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday. The Zhongshan District (中山)-based clinic was removed from the city’s list of vaccination venues and health officials would be investigated for giving 1,113 doses to the clinic, Huang told an afternoon news conference at Taipei City Hall. The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Tuesday in an exclusive story citing an anonymous tip reported that a Taipei clinic was doling out unused vaccines. People in
PHASE 2: The firm’s CEO said that the results were good and the experimental vaccine safe, but added that hoped-for phase 3 trials would be expensive Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗) yesterday reported positive results from an interim analysis of phase 2 trials for its COVID-19 vaccine, saying that the vaccine demonstrated high seroconversion rates and geometric mean titer (GMT) figures. A seroconversion rate is the percentage of participants in a trial displaying virus-specific immune memory after being given a vaccine, while the GMT measures the level of neutralizing antibody response, Medigen said. The experimental vaccine has a seroconversion rate of 99.8 percent and its GMT was 662 among the participants aged 20 to 89, while the gauges rose to 99.9 percent and 733 respectively in participants aged
ROLLING OUT DOSES: The expansion aims to speed up Taiwan’s vaccination drive by making more Moderna jabs available to workers at hospitals, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers in the highest vaccine priority group. The center said that 75,000 doses of the vaccine — half of the first batch Taiwan has received — were on Wednesday distributed to hospitals across the nation with specialized COVID-19 rooms, negative pressure wards and testing services. Thus far, they had only been offered to frontline healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers at the designated hospitals, it said. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the eligibility was
NUMBERS HAVE FALLEN: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said there are good signs, but ‘we cannot afford to let our guard down now’ The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 219 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and 22 deaths. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the 219 local infections — 117 male and 102 female — were aged from under five to over 100 years old, and they began having symptoms between May 22 and Monday. New Taipei City reported 123 cases, followed by Taipei with 54, Miaoli County with 16, Taoyuan with 13, Keelung with eight, Changhua County with two, and one each in Hsinchu City, Taichung and Tainan. The 22 deaths were 15 men and