《TAIPEI TIMES》 Local COVID-19 cases fall to 60: CECC – 焦點

A customer waits to pick up a takeaway meal inside an empty food court in Taipei yesterday. Eateries across the capital offer only takeout and delivery services to comply with a level 3 COVID-19 alert.
Photo: CNA

2021/06/29 03:00

DOWNTREND: The figure was the lowest since May 15, when Taipei and New Taipei City raised the COVID-19 alert to level 3 due to a spike in domestic infections

By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 60 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and three deaths, while advising the public to continue to stay home and avoid public gatherings, despite the drop in numbers.

It was the smallest daily increase since May 15, when the COVID-19 alert was raised to level 3 for Taipei and New Taipei City due to a spike in case numbers.

The 60 include 31 cases who tested positive during isolation or upon ending isolation, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center.

They consisted of 26 males and 34 females, ranging in age from younger than 10 to older than 90, and who began experiencing symptoms between June 19 and Sunday.

New Taipei City reported 33 cases, followed by Taipei with 22, Taoyuan with two, and Keelung, and Changhua and Nantou counties with one each.

“The case count is lower today, which might be due to few people undergoing tests over the weekend,” he said. “Nonetheless, the case count is definitely dropping and fewer cities or counties are reporting new cases, which is a good sign.”

“However, while most people are still wearing masks at all times, we have observed that crowds have increased during weekends, which is a concern,” he said.

People should continue to avoid unnecessary outings and gatherings, and if they must go out to attend to important matters, they should make it quick and hurry home, he said.

With the nationwide level 3 alert in force until July 12, it is important to establish COVID-19 guidelines for industries and businesses to ensure that people clearly understand and thoroughly implement them, before restrictions can be loosened slightly, he added.

Of the three COVID-19 deaths reported, two were men and one a woman aged 70 to 100. All three had underlying health conditions.

After a cluster of infections with the Delta variant was detected in Pingtung County last week, the center from Sunday imposed tighter border controls.

Chen yesterday reiterated that all international travelers to Taiwan would have to undergo 14 days of quarantine at specialized facilities, and that quarantine at home is not allowed.

Travelers who have been to any of the seven high-risk countries — Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Peru and the UK — within 14 days before arriving in Taiwan would have to stay at a centralized quarantine facility, and they must undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before and upon ending quarantine, he said.

Travelers from other countries can choose to stay at a quarantine hotel or a centralized quarantine facility, paid out of pocket, and have to take a PCR test at the end of the 14 days, he added.

Addressing a question by a reporter about a UK study suggesting that people diagnosed with the Delta variant are more likely to suffer a runny nose and a headache, unlike the usual COVID-19 symptoms, CECC specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said that the study was based mainly on self-reported symptoms by infected individuals.

He said that another study by academics in Singapore analyzing the leading symptoms of people diagnosed with the Delta or Alpha variant suggests that the three most common symptoms are the same: a fever, a cough and a sore throat.

Data provided by the UK government showed that the Delta variant is about 40 to 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant, he said.

Based on the study, a single dose of vaccine — with AstraZeneca’s being the most widely used vaccine in the UK — provided about 33 percent protection against the Delta variant, compared with about 50 percent protection against the Alpha variant, he said.

For people who received both doses of vaccine, protection against severe illness caused by the Delta variant ranged from 60 to 88 percent, and 66 to 93 percent for the Alpha variant, he said.

Protection against hospitalization due to both variants are about the same at more than 90 percent, he added.

“Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can provide much protection against hospitalization and severe illness from the Delta variant, so we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they get the chance,” Chang said.


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