The Cabinet yesterday extended a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert until June 28 as the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported 211 locally transmitted cases and 26 deaths.
The CECC on May 15 issued the level 3 alert for Taipei and New Taipei City, saying it would last until May 28. Four days later, it expanded the alert to the entire nation before announcing on May 28 that the alert period had been extended to Monday next week.
The latest extension was announced following a disease prevention meeting at the Executive Yuan in Taipei yesterday morning.
Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA-EFE
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, called on people to continue complying with the restrictions.
They include wearing a mask at all times when outdoors, he said, adding that those who fail to do so would be fined without warning.
Indoor gatherings of more than four people and outdoor gatherings of more than nine are still banned, and people should avoid unnecessary travel, as well as gatherings, Chen said.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
Business venues and government agencies are required to implement crowd and flow controls, a mask mandate and social distancing rules, while people must follow the disease prevention rules of each venue they visit, he said.
People should monitor their health and seek medical attention if they experience COVID-19 symptoms, he added.
Recreational, entertainment, exhibition, performance, education and learning venues are temporarily closed, Chen said.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Inspections would be conducted at recreational and entertainment venues, and if they are found to be operating illegally, the owner, on-site employees and customers would be fined, he said.
Restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery, and markets and stores must enhance crowd and flow controls, while people should go shopping less frequently and buy in bulk to avoid visiting markets, he added.
Wedding banquets, public funeral ceremonies and religious gatherings are temporarily banned, while religious venues are temporarily closed to the public, Chen said.
Workplaces should follow the CECC’s business continuity guidelines, initiate responsive working arrangements, such as remote working and flexible working hours, while maintaining good personal and workplace hygiene, he said, adding that public venues and public transport should increase environmental disinfection.
Visiting patients at healthcare facilities and long-term care facilities is temporarily banned, with a few exceptions. Only one person can accompany a hospitalized patient at a time, with strict personnel and access controls, and the health condition of the visitor should be monitored daily.
Meanwhile, the CECC yesterday reported that of the 211 new local infections, 82 people live in New Taipei City, followed by Taipei with 60 and Miaoli County with 45.
Changhua County reported eight cases; Hsinchu City, Taoyuan, Keelung and Penghu County reported three each; and Yilan, Chiayi, Pingtung and Hsinchu counties reported one each.
The 26 deaths were 20 men and six women, aged from their 50s to their 90s, Chen said, adding that they died from May 31 to Sunday.
CECC specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said that among the more than 200 deaths reported from May 11 to Wednesday, about 40 percent died about eight to 14 days after developing symptoms, and about 18 percent died two to three days after the onset of symptoms.
While most of the local cases were the Alpha variant, the center has collected samples from the deceased patients for viral genome sequencing, as it is concerned that there might be mutations, he said.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said that there are 106 rapid screening stations across the nation.
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