CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan begins March with economy-minded eased COVID-19 protocol

03/01/2022 10:11 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
Food tasting at retailers is once again allowed in Taiwan from Tuesday. CNA photo March 1, 2022
Food tasting at retailers is once again allowed in Taiwan from Tuesday. CNA photo March 1, 2022

Taipei, March 1 (CNA) The beginning of March marked a new phase of Taiwan's response to COVID-19, as the country began to ease restrictions domestically and for travelers from abroad, giving greater consideration to economic factors.

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

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

The alert was lowered back to Level 2 on July 27, 2021, and was extended every two weeks before expiring on Feb. 28 this year. Some Level 3 measures, such as the face mask mandate, were kept in place.

Related: Taiwan relaxes domestic COVID-19 restrictions, discards alert levels

A mask mandate -- which was eased last October but tightened again on Jan. 9, after more than a dozen of domestic cases, including a first locally acquired Omicron variant infection recorded in Taiwan beginning Jan. 3 -- were relaxed again from Tuesday.

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

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

The figures do not include imported cases reclassified as domestic ones, nor retroactively removed cases. As of March 1, Taiwan recorded 836 domestic and 2,665 imported COVID-19 cases in 2022.
The figures do not include imported cases reclassified as domestic ones, nor retroactively removed cases. As of March 1, Taiwan recorded 836 domestic and 2,665 imported COVID-19 cases in 2022.

The CECC's Feb. 24 announcement of the planned changes came after the number of daily domestic cases in the current outbreak dropped to below 20 beginning Feb. 11. There were 10 days when new case numbers were in the single digits by the end of the month.

According to CECC spokesman and Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chunag Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the new approach has been adopted after 60 percent of eligible recipients received COVID-19 vaccine booster doses.

The latest CECC data shows since the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination on March 22, 2021, 82.84 percent of Taiwan's 23.35 million population have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 76.83 percent have been given two doses.

1. More doses of the Moderna vaccine have been administered in Taiwan than the government has officially received because recipients of the Moderna booster shot are given half the standard dose of the first and second jab. 2. Information about the booster dose and additional dose can be found at https://t.ly/4ZuW
1. More doses of the Moderna vaccine have been administered in Taiwan than the government has officially received because recipients of the Moderna booster shot are given half the standard dose of the first and second jab. 2. Information about the booster dose and additional dose can be found at https://t.ly/4ZuW

In an interview late last year, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) told CNA that around 89 percent of the population are eligible vaccine recipients who are aged 12 and above.

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

Another change that will affect people in Taiwan and from abroad will be the shortened quarantine time. This will be cut from 14 to 10 days for people who are required to isolate after coming into contact with infected individuals, as well as for all arrivals, including business travelers, who will be allowed entry to Taiwan from March 7.

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

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

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

People exercise outdoor can take off their face mask Tuesday. CNA photo March 1, 2022
People exercise outdoor can take off their face mask Tuesday. CNA photo March 1, 2022

On the first day of March, Taiwan reported 40 imported 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)

Enditem/ASG

> Chinese Version

Update

March 23: Taiwan adjusts policy on triaging of COVID-19-positive travelers

March 19: Flights from South Korea included in tighter COVID-19 testing scheme

Other eased border controls

Feb. 27: Taiwan to reopen for foreign national fertility treatment from March 1

Feb. 25: Taiwan to expand entry permission to professionals from March 7

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

View All
0:00
/
0:00
We value your privacy.
Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.