CORONAVIRUS/CECC repeats call to use social distancing app as COVID cases rise

04/12/2022 06:09 PM
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CNA file photo
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Taipei, April 12 (CNA) People in Taiwan are encouraged to install and use the Taiwan Social Distancing app on their mobile devices to assist the government in its efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The mobile phone app, which was first launched in May 2021, has been further updated for easier use as part of Taiwan's plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to open up the country, the CECC said in a statement.

The call was made as Taiwan reported a new high of 551 daily domestic COVID-19 cases for the year on Tuesday, and comes on the back of Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) repeatedly asking people to install the app since April 8 when daily local infections rose to 384.

The app, available on both Google's Android and Apple's iOS operating systems, has been downloaded 6.89 million times, while the CECC is targeting 13 million downloads, and 80 percent of people aged 15 to 64 installing the app, in order to improve current contact tracing efforts, said Chien Hung-wei (簡宏偉), head of the CECC's tech division, during the center's press briefing Tuesday.

In addition to traditional Chinese, the app can also be used in English, Indonesian, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese, according to information on the Apple website.

The figures do not include imported cases reclassified as domestic ones, nor retroactively removed cases. As of April 12, Taiwan recorded 4,928 domestic cases in 2022, while the total number of imported cases rose to 9,077 from 2,375 on Dec. 31.
The figures do not include imported cases reclassified as domestic ones, nor retroactively removed cases. As of April 12, Taiwan recorded 4,928 domestic cases in 2022, while the total number of imported cases rose to 9,077 from 2,375 on Dec. 31.

The CECC plans to first encourage people working in government and other key infrastructure facilities to download the app, while members of the public are advised to use it whenever they are at a location or take part in events for more than two minutes, according to Chien.

For occasions such as having a meal at a restaurant, shopping at a market, going to a concert or taking part in religious events, people can show the app on their phones, instead of leaving their contact information with the venue, or scan the QR code to send a text message to the health authorities as a record of their visit, CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said at the press briefing.

However, for a quick visit to places, such as convenience stores, Chuang said, people are still advised to leave their contact information or scan the QR code.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 can use the app to notify the CECC about their status, and the CECC will verify the information before comparing the location data it collected from other users and sending an alert to those who came into contact with the infected individual, Chien said.

Since late March Taiwan has seen a spike in locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, mostly linked to individuals who contracted the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The number of daily new domestic cases has exceeded 100 since the start of April.

Of the 4,415 domestic cases recorded from Jan. 1 to April 11, 15 patients developed medium to severe complications, including two deaths, while in 99.66 percent of cases, individuals had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic, according to the CECC.

(By Chen Chieh-ling, Chiang Hui-chun and Kay Liu)

Enditem/AW

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Update

April 13: Taiwan reports record single-day high of 744 domestic COVID-19 cases

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