CORONAVIRUS/CECC mulls downgrading classification of COVID-19 by May
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.
Mar. 2: CECC mulls downgrading classification of COVID-19 by May
Mar. 1: Taiwan records first two local monkeypox cases
Feb. 23: New COVID vaccination campaign planned in March, annual jab from 2024
Feb. 20: Taiwan to stop COVID-19 rapid test kits to overseas arrivals
Feb. 20: HK visitors eye eateries, night markets as independent travel reopens
Feb. 6: Taiwan begins phasing out Pfizer-BNT as first vaccine shot for minors
Feb. 2: Taiwan's ACIP head predicts regular COVID-19 vaccines won't be necessary
Jan. 18: Expert predicts new wave of COVID subvariants to come, peak in March
Mar. 2: Taiwan reports 12,032 new COVID-19 cases, 43 deaths
Mar. 1: Taiwan reports 12,212 new COVID cases; isolation rules to ease
Feb. 28: Taiwan reports 10,120 new COVID cases; mask rules to be reviewed in April
Feb. 27: Taiwan sees under 10,000 new COVID-19 cases for first time in over 300 days
Feb. 26: Taiwan reports 13,090 new COVID-19 cases, 46 deaths
Feb. 25: Taiwan surpasses 10 million COVID-19 case threshold
Feb. 24: Taiwan reports 13,440 new COVID-19 cases, 56 deaths
Feb. 23: Taiwan reports 14,387 new COVID-19 cases, 37 deaths
Latest COVID-19 rules
● Taiwan's eased indoor mask mandate takes effect Feb. 20
● COVID-19 testing for overseas arrivals dropped from Feb. 7 (2023)
● Revised protocol for hospital visits from Dec. 10
● Taiwan to stop paying COVID medical fees for certain foreign nationals
● Taiwan to remove weekly arrival cap on Dec. 10
● Taiwan cuts COVID isolation to 5 days, lifts workplace vaccine mandates (Nov. 14)
● Taiwan to further ease border rules for China, Hong Kong, Macau residents
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