Shoppers at Taipei’s Wuxing Street traditional market buy zongzi — glutinous rice dumplings in bamboo leaves — which are traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
CARING FOR THE SICK: The center said that it would distribute monoclonal antibody drugs and negative pressure isolation units to hospitals across the nation
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter
The Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC） yesterday reported 286 new local cases of COVID-19 and 24 deaths.
The local cases are 141 males and 145 females, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung （陳時中）, who heads the center, told a daily news briefing in Taipei.
This week’s total case number seems to have slightly decreased compared with last week’s total, but has remained relatively level, Chen said.
Previous centers of the local outbreak recorded the largest number of new cases, with 120 in New Taipei City, 56 in Miaoli County and 49 in Taipei, center data showed.
Taoyuan had 19 new cases, Hsinchu County had 12, Keelung had eight, Changhua County had seven, and Taichung had four, it showed
Yilan County and Hsinchu City each recorded three cases, Yunlin and Hualien counties each recorded 2, and Tainan recorded one case, the data showed.
The 24 deaths were 12 men and 12 women aged in their 50s to 80s, it showed.
They died between Wednesday last week and Wednesday, and all of them had chronic illnesses, the data showed.
The center also reported one imported case, from Thailand.
As of yesterday, Taiwan had recorded 12,500 confirmed cases, including 11,294 local cases and 1,153 imported ones, and 385 deaths from the disease, the data showed.
The center said that it has procured monoclonal antibody medications for 1,000 COVID-19 patients and expects to receive them in the middle of this month.
The drugs would be administered to patients with moderate symptoms, but a prognosis that they might get worse, Chen said, adding that the patients would be informed of the risks before the treatment is given.
The drugs would be distributed to hospitals with centralized isolation wards, he said.
Chen also outlined the distribution plan for 10 negative pressure isolation units that arrived in Taiwan on Thursday.
The units, made by Japan’s Hitachi Ltd, would be installed at 10 hospitals: New Taipei City’s Shuang Ho Hospital and Far Eastern Memorial Hospital; Taoyuan’s Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital; Taipei Municipal Wanfang Hospital and Shin Kong Wo Ho Su Memorial Hospital; Miaoli City’s Da Chien General Hospital; Tungs’ Taichung Metro Harbor Hospital and Taichung Veterans General Hospital; Changhua County’s Show Chwan Memorial Hospital and Changhua Christian Hospital, he said.
Taiwan ordered a total of 80 units, and the rest are expected to arrive in three weeks, the CECC said on Thursday, adding that strict border controls would remain in place amid a level 3 COVID-19 alert.
Foreigners without residence permits would not be allowed to enter the nation, except those with special permissions due to emergency or humanitarian needs, the center said, adding that transiting passengers are also not allowed.
Regarding rumors that the government is weighing raising the pandemic alert to level 4, Chen said that there are no such plans.
Chen also repeated a call for people not to travel on the three-day Dragon Boat Festival weekend that starts today.
The call was echoed by President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文）, who later yesterday in a speech broadcast online asked people to stay at home during the extended weekend unless leaving their home is necessary.
Tsai also expressed condolences to the families of those who have died from the virus.
The government would do its best to control the situation as quickly as possible, she said.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang and CNA
A police officer from Taipei’s Daan Precinct yesterday holds a sign at the city’s Nanmen traditional market urging people to go to the market less frequently, and informing them that the market will close earlier than usual.
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