CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan unlikely to ease COVID-19 restrictions in near future: CECC
Taipei, Aug. 2 (CNA) Taiwan is unlikely to further relax its coronavirus-related restrictions under the lowered COVID-19 alert which will remain in place until Aug. 9, despite falling case numbers, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Monday.
Although the local COVID-19 outbreak has been relatively well controlled since the government lowered the nationwide Level 3 COVID-19 alert to Level 2 from July 27 to Aug. 9, there is little possibility of further easing epidemic prevention and control measures implemented during the Level 2 alert period, Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said at a regular CECC news briefing.
However, the restrictions will not be tightened either, Chen said, adding that the measures would likely be extended from Aug. 10.
Chen made the remarks after Taiwan on Monday reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 -- 12 transmitted domestically and two contracted overseas -- and zero deaths from the disease.
Over the past week after the COVID-19 alert level was lowered, the average daily number of new domestic COVID-19 cases has been about 15, while fewer than five cases with an unknown source of infection were reported, according to Chen.
Taiwan has seen fewer than 10 domestic cases with an unknown source for 20 consecutive days, suggesting the COVID-19 situation is under control, Chen added.
He said that Taiwan cannot hastily lift COVID-19 restrictions because the coronavirus could resurge amid the global pandemic.
Of the 12 domestic cases reported Monday, five were reported in Taoyuan, three in New Taipei, two in Taipei, and one each in Keelung and Kaohsiung cities, Chen said.
The five cases in Taoyuan were all members of a family who have been in contact with another family member who has COVID-19, according to Chen.
The source of infection in nine of the domestic cases has been identified, while three cases are still being investigated.
Also on Thursday, Taiwan confirmed two imported COVID-19 cases, one of which involved a Taiwanese man in his 60s who returned from Thailand on July 18, and a Taiwanese woman in her 30s who came back from the United States on July 30, according to the CECC.
The new COVID-19 cases bring the total in Taiwan to 15,702, of which 14,214 are domestic infections reported since May 15, when the country first recorded more than 100 cases in a single day.
Of the 14,475 cases reported from May 11 to July 31, 89 percent, or 12,884 people have been discharged from isolation facilities, according to the CECC.
To date, 789 people have died of COVID-19 in Taiwan, including 777 since May 15.
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