‘Taiwan’s worst Covid outbreak may be coming under control’


Taiwan’s worst Covid-19 outbreak seems to be easing thanks to the efforts of medical workers, local governments and ordinary citizens, Central Epidemic Control Command (CECC) chief Chen Shih-chung said on Monday.

With a population of 23.6 million, Taiwan has recorded a total of 8,551 coronavirus infections and 124 fatalities, most of which were recorded in the current outbreak which began earlier this month, including 274 new cases and 15 deaths confirmed on Monday, reports dpa news agency.

CECC data showed that the confirmed case numbers have declined from a peak of 533 tallied on May 17 to 274 announced on Monday.

“In the past few days we can see that the number of cases is declining which is the result of everyone’s efforts,” Chen told reporters at the daily CECC press briefing.

Chen said the critical effective reproduction value, which shows the number of persons that can be infected by an individual, peaked at 15 during May 13-15, but has now declined to 1.02.

He said that that the results show that “the epidemic situation is progressing to a controllable scope.”

Chen also defended the CECC’s decision to sign advance procurement contracts with two Taiwan pharmaceutical companies, Medigen Vaccine Company and United Biomedical Inc, for 10 million of doses of Covid-19 vaccine each as in line with international practice.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s parliament authorised over $15 billion for Covid-19 related economic and social assistance funds on Monday for people and companies affected by the current outbreak in which over 8,500 have been infected and 124 have died.

The revisions extend the tenure of the special act until June 2022 and hike the ceiling for assistance measures by $15.2 billion-$30.4 billion.

Officials said the number of people who will benefit will exceed the 5.24 million who received cash payments last year.

The Cabinet is expected to finalise the new special budget on Thursday, allowing cash payments to be sent into bank accounts by Friday.