The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 16 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, nine imported cases and five deaths, and said that guidelines to lower a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert might be announced soon.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the local cases are 11 men and five women aged 20 to 80.
Six tested positive during isolation or upon ending it, Chen said.
The infection sources of nine cases have been identified, four remain unclear, and three are under investigation, he said.
Taipei reported the most cases, with nine, followed by Taoyuan with five and New Taipei City with two, Chen said.
The nine imported cases are all males, six of them in a group of alleged illegal immigrants detained by the Coast Guard Administration, he said.
“We are thankful for the conscientiousness of our coast guard officials, who averted a risk to society,” he said.
The coast guard on Tuesday said that it had found a Taiwanese fishing boat off Tainan’s Anping District (安平) with eight foreign nationals — six Indonesians and two Burmese — aboard.
Twenty-seven close contacts of the six cases have been identified, including seven who have been ordered to isolate and 14 instructed to practice self-health management, CECC data showed.
The five COVID-19 deaths were two women and three men aged 50 to 100, the data showed.
They all had underlying health conditions, the data showed.
Reporters asked Chen when guidelines would be announced to lower the level 3 alert.
“We are watching the COVID-19 situation and it is likely that the alert level will be lowered, unless there is a dramatic change,” he said.
“We will announce updated disease prevention measures and guidelines in the next couple of days,” Chen added.
The alert was issued for the whole nation on May 19 and has been extended three times, with the latest extension scheduled to end on Monday next week.
Asked if rules on gatherings — a maximum of four people indoors and nine people outdoors — would be eased, Chen said if the alert is lowered to level 2, the regulations would be loosened, but a final decision has not been made.
Asked if anyone in Taiwan has had post-COVID-19 pulmonary fibrosis, CECC specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said that since last year the condition has been reported in some people with moderate to severe COVID-19, but pulmonary functions in some cases returned to normal.
There have been many people infected since a local outbreak began in the middle of May, with many hospitals involved in their care, so data on post-infection health conditions would come from follow-up outpatient visits, Chang said.
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