The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that it would discuss with other nations the possibility of allowing businesspeople to visit on a case-by-case basis.
Asked about loosening border restrictions, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said at the daily CECC news briefing that while the center is cautious about opening the nation’s borders, it would aim to diminish obstacles for important trade interactions without risking transmission of the novel coronavirus.
Several foreign representatives in Taiwan have expressed an interest in the matter and the center would conduct related negotiations with the help of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chen added.
Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center via CNA
No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Taiwan yesterday, leaving the nation’s total confirmed cases at 441, including seven deaths, while 408 patients have been released from isolation after treatment, center data showed.
Of the 350 imported cases, 91 came from the US, 72 from the UK, 25 from France, 20 from Spain and 17 from Turkey, CECC advisory specialist panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said.
He added that 69.4 percent of the confirmed cases exhibited only minor symptoms, while 22.4 percent developed pneumonia and 8.2 percent developed serious pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Among those treated with invasive methods, 24 patients were placed on respirators, but seven of them died, including three of the seven patients placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, he added.
Four patients tested positive after testing negative three times, but eight people with whom they came into contact did not exhibit symptoms or test positive after 14 days of isolation, Chang said.
Similar findings were reported in South Korea, where patients were released after testing negative twice, he said.
As the positive response after three negative tests was weak, the center deemed it unnecessary to further isolate the contacts who tested positive after three negative tests, he added.
Prior to the news briefing, Chen represented local governments in receiving automated nucleic acid testing systems donated by GeneReach Biotechnology Corp at a ceremony in Penghu County.
The systems — which were donated to outlying Penghu, Kinmen and Lienchiang counties, as well as Taitung County’s Lanyu (蘭嶼) and Green Island townships — can be operated by a single medical worker and provide a result in 85 minutes, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said.
The systems would allow local governments to isolate suspected cases earlier, as they would not have to wait for test results from Taiwan proper, Chen said, adding that each region would receive one system.
As GeneReach is the first local firm to produce a small-scale polymerase chain reaction testing device, diplomatic and defense agencies have also procured some for their use, he added.
The CECC also introduced a chatbot powered by Google Assistant that features Chinese and English-language interfaces, following the launch two weeks ago of a similar bot on Facebook Messenger that only had a Chinese-language version.
Designed for foreigners in Taiwan, the new digital assistant provides users with instant information about the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said, but added that its speech recognition could be imprecise.
Additional reporting by CNA
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
More than half of Taiwan’s middle-aged population, those aged between 40 and 64, have at least one of the “three highs” — high blood pressure, high blood lipids or high blood sugar — and an unhealthy waist size, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said, adding that more than 30 percent also have metabolic syndrome. The HPA, the Taiwan Millennium Health Foundation and local health departments are cooperating to encourage people to regularly measure their waist circumference and keep it at a healthy size — no more than 90cm for adult men and no more than 80cm for adult women. Taichung Veterans General