Taiwan’s COVID-19 cases reach plateau – government

People wait for a test for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Taipei, Taiwan, May 24, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

TAIPEI (Reuters) – The COVID-19 pandemic in Taiwan has plateaued, with cases at high but stable levels, the government said on Friday as it maintained a policy of gradually easing restrictions and the island is coping with it let the virus.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said infections could stay near current levels for a while before receding. He has previously forecast a peak could occur in late May.

The more than 94,800 cases and 126 deaths related to COVID reported in the past 24 hours were both records, but Chen pointed out the trend.

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

“Overall, the daily cases remained stable,” the minister said at a press conference. “They’ve plateaued in the last week or so. We hope that this peak will soon be over.”

Even with 70,000 to 90,000 cases a day, the government is determined to end a much-vaunted zero-COVID policy that has included a widespread closure of borders. Continue reading

Hospital beds earmarked for COVID patients are 59% occupied and the burden on medical resources has remained stable, Chen said, although he added that the government is closely monitoring a level of deaths.

“We are on high alert and are closely monitoring this number,” he said, urging hospitals to provide enough intensive care units for COVID patients.

The government is calling its policy change the “new Taiwan model” — living with the virus gradually and avoiding shutting down the economy. Shops, restaurants and gyms are now open and gatherings are allowed as usual, but mask wearing is required in many settings.

Most cases in heavily vaccinated Taiwan are of the Omicron variant, with more than 99.7% of patients presenting with mild or no symptoms.

The minister said authorities are working to further relax border controls. New guidelines would be announced in June, he said, without elaborating.

“Sooner or later, Taiwan will reopen its borders,” he said. “It’s something that has to be done.”

Taiwan has never been under a full lockdown, although its borders remain largely closed except to citizens and resident card holders.

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Yimou Lee; Edited by Bradley Perrett

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Leave a Comment