The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday outlined its strategies to expand COVID-19 testing within communities.
The measures are being taken to identify possible undetected cases of COVID-19 in communities as soon as possible, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said at a daily briefing in Taipei.
The four strategies are: setting up more community-based testing sites, assisting companies in conducting rapid screening tests, allowing clinics to offer self-paid rapid screening tests and encouraging companies to import at-home rapid test kits, he said.
Two companies have submitted requests to import at-home rapid test kits, he said, adding that the center would review them as soon as possible.
The center’s guidelines on performing rapid tests for COVID-19 at home would become available in about a week, he said.
While the center supports people taking self-paid tests at clinics if needed, it would be difficult for many clinics to offer them because of the requirements relating to the testing environment, he said.
Overall, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases appears to be on “a slight downward trend,” Chen said, but added that it was “not obvious.”
Since the middle of last month, the nation has increased its capacity to perform polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 tests from 27,682 tests per day to 80,307 tests per day, the center said.
As of Wednesday, the nation had 111 community-based testing sites for COVID-19, up from three on May 14, it said.
As of yesterday, there were 5,494 hospital rooms dedicated to treating patients with COVID-19, up from 2,412 rooms on May 15, it said.
On Tuesday next week, Taiwan is to begin administering the 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine donated by Japan.
The CECC is soon to announce when eligible groups can start making appointments to receive vaccinations, said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman.
A total of 12,748 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered on Wednesday, CECC data showed.
As of Wednesday, 759,746 doses had been given since the nation began vaccinating people against the virus on March 22, the data showed.
Additional reporting by CNA
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