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CORONAVIRUS/CECC mulls downgrading classification of COVID-19 by May

03/02/2023 09:27 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei March 2 (CNA) Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Victor Wang (王必勝) on Thursday announced future plans to potentially downgrade COVID-19, which he said could result in the center being officially disbanded in May.

Wang made the announcement at the CECC's routine Thursday press briefing, outlining future plans to gradually relax provisions introduced as part of Taiwan's COVID-19 epidemic response, including downgrading the disease.

COVID-19 is currently listed as a category 5 communicable disease, which, under the Communicable Disease Control Act, calls for the "formulation of preventive and control measures or preparedness plans," including the establishment of the CECC.

Wang said Taiwan may takes steps to ease its epidemic protocols after continuing to observe a steady decline in the COVID-19 case numbers since the 228 Memorial Day extended weekend.

Other than the planned lifting of the mask mandate in schools on March 6, Wang said preliminary plans include relaxing related protocols in three phases starting next week.

Three phases of protocols easing

The first step is relaxing the protocols for community epidemic prevention work, which will take place in or around March, he added.

The loosening of community protocols will mean that those with mild COVID symptoms no longer have to report their condition or go into quarantine.

The second phase, scheduled to take place in April, involves easing regulations in medical facilities, such as adjusting the allocation of COVID-19 specific wards and amending in-hospital infection protocols.

The downgrading of the disease from a category 5 communicable disease will take place in phase three, Wang said, adding that the CECC itself may be also downsized if not disbanded when the plans are rolled out in May.

The World Health Organization will initiate discussions in April to decide whether or not to declassify the COVID-19 pandemic as a public health emergency of international concern, Wang added.

Thereafter, the United States and Japan could discuss the possibility of re-categorizing the respective variants of the disease in their countries, Wang said.

(By Chen Chieh-ling, Shen Pei-yao and James Lo)


> Chinese Version

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