CORONAVIRUS/Level 3 COVID alert to remain despite drop in new cases to 109: CECC
Taipei, June 20 (CNA) Taiwan on Sunday reported 109 new cases of COVID-19, marking its eighth straight day of daily case numbers below 200, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
Despite the decline in the daily number of cases, however, the nationwide Level 3 COVID-19 alert will not be lowered at this time, as the country has not yet met the criteria for a downgrade, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at a news briefing.
The main conditions for a Level 3 alert, the second highest on the CECC's four-tier scale, are three community clusters within a week or 10 domestically transmitted cases from unknown sources in one day, Chen said.
The national Level 3 alert, which is in effect at least until June 28, was first implemented on May 19 and was extended twice.
Chen said it is not yet clear whether Taiwan will meet the criteria for lowering the COVID-19 alert in a week's time.
The 109 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Taiwan on Sunday represented its lowest single-day number in more than a month. All except two were domestic infections, with New Taipei reporting 44, Taipei 31, and Taoyuan 16.
Nine of the 16 cases reported in Taoyuan were linked to the city's Armed Forces General Hospital, where a cluster has broken out, CECC official Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) said.
In the cluster, four patients and five caregivers at the hospital have tested positive for COVID-19, after two nurses there were confirmed to be infected, Lo said.
The hospital has stopped admitting patients and has suspended its outpatient and emergency services, as more COVID-19 testing is being carried out, a Taoyuan City government official said Sunday, at a separate press briefing.
In other parts of Taiwan, Taichung reported six cases, Hsinchu County four, and Miaoli County three, while one each was confirmed in Keelung City and Changhua and Yilan counties, according to the CECC.
Two of the 107 new domestic infections had unknown sources, while three are being investigated, the CECC said.
The two imported cases, meanwhile, involved a Philippine national who came to Taiwan to work and a Taiwanese citizen who recently returned from Japan, the CECC said.
The 11 deaths reported Sunday were five men and six women, aged 40-100, who passed away between June 15 and June 18, it said.
In two of the fatalities, the patients were in their 40s and 50s and both had chronic kidney disease and high blood pressure, the CECC said.
To date, Taiwan has confirmed a total of 14,005 COVID-19 cases, over 12,600 of which are domestic infections reported since May 15, when the country first recorded more than 100 cases in a single day.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the country has risen to 549, with all except 12 recorded since May 15, CECC data shows.
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