Taiwan starts March with economy-focused lightened COVID-19 protocol


Taipei, March 1 (CNA) The start of March marked a new phase in Taiwan’s response to COVID-19, as the country began easing domestic restrictions and for travelers from overseas, taking more account of economic factors.

One of the important changes for people in Taiwan is the abandonment of the COVID-19 alert system, as the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) moved to a monthly review of the COVID-19 situation to see if the Current disease prevention measures need to be changed. .

Taiwan first raised the COVID-19 alert to Level 2 on May 11, 2021, then to Level 3 on May 19. This led to a near-lockdown after the CECC reported daily national cases of more than 100 for the first time since the start of the pandemic. early 2020.

The alert was lowered to Level 2 on July 27, 2021 and extended every two weeks before expiring on February 28 this year. Some Level 3 measures, such as wearing face masks, have been maintained.

Related: Taiwan eases nationwide COVID-19 restrictions, drops alert levels

A mask mandate – which was eased last October but tightened again on January 9, after more than a dozen domestic cases, including a first locally acquired Omicron variant infection recorded in Taiwan from January 3 – has many again been eased from Tuesday.

After recording only 10 locally transmitted cases in December, Taiwan recorded a total of 832 domestic cases in the first two months of 2022. Most of the cases were linked to the 333 confirmed cases infected with the Omicron variant, according to data from the CCCB.

During the same two-month period, the number of imported cases reported by Taiwan more than doubled, from 2,375 on December 31 to 5,000 on February 28, with three deaths linked to the disease.

The announcement of the planned changes by the CECC on February 24 came after the number of daily domestic cases in the current outbreak fell below 20 from February 11. There were 10 days where new case numbers were in single digits at the end of the month. .

According to CECC spokesperson and Deputy Director General of the Centers for Disease Control, Chunag Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the new approach was taken after 60% of eligible recipients received booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Latest CECC data shows that since the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination on March 22, 2021, 82.84% of Taiwan’s 23.35 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. -19, while 76.83% received two doses.

In an interview late last year, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) told CNA that about 89% of the population are eligible vaccinees aged 12 and older.

Chuang added that most of the domestic cases reported this year were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, and were not hospitalized but isolated in quarantine hotels or government-run facilities.

Another change that will affect people in Taiwan and abroad will be the shortening of the quarantine time. This period will be reduced from 14 to 10 days for people who must self-isolate after coming into contact with infected people, as well as for all arrivals, including business travelers, who will be allowed to enter Taiwan at from March 7.

The CECC said in its announcement that the planned gradual relaxation of border controls, the bulk of which was introduced in March 2020, was aimed at better facilitating business activities while maintaining the efforts needed to prevent the spread of the disease.

Related: Taiwan to shorten quarantine and grant entry to business travelers from March 7

Meanwhile, Chen said the CECC is taking a step-by-step approach to easing restrictions to facilitate a return to relative normality that supports both economic goals and disease prevention.

On the first day of March, Taiwan reported 40 imported cases and four domestic cases, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases recorded in Taiwan since early 2020 to 20,533, according to the CECC.

(By Chen Chie-ling, Chang Ming-hsuan, Chiang Hui-chun and Kay Liu)

End article/ASG

> Chinese version

Update

March 23: Taiwan adjusts triage policy for COVID-19 positive travelers

March 19: Flights from South Korea included in a stricter COVID-19 testing program

Other facilitated border controls

February 27: Taiwan to reopen for fertility treatment of foreign nationals from March 1

February 25: Taiwan to extend entry clearance to professionals from March 7

February 15: Taiwan expects 5,000 non-scholarship language students by mid-2022

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