The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 15 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, three imported cases and four deaths.
Six of the local cases tested positive during isolation or upon ending isolation, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center.
The local infections were all reported in northern Taiwan. New Taipei City led the case count with seven infections, followed by Taipei with five cases and Taoyuan with three, he said.
The infection sources of nine cases have been identified and six remain unclear, CECC data showed.
Asked if a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert could be lowered after Monday next week and whether there might still be hidden transmission chains in Taipei and New Taipei City, Chen said while the trend seems relatively stable, the COVID-19 situation can change quickly, so the center is still working to keep the outbreak under control.
The test positivity rate has dropped from 0.1 percent to between 0.02 and 0.06 percent over the past two weeks, which is much lower than the WHO’s recommendation that test positivity rates remain below or at 5 percent for 14 days before countries or regions reopen, Chen said.
Photo courtesy of Central Epidemic Command Center
About 40,000 to 60,000 tests are conducted daily on weekdays and about 30,000 tests daily on weekends, but the test positivity remains low, he added.
However, Chen said the situation in Taipei and New Taipei City is more complicated, as community spread is still occurring there, so bringing the daily confirmed cases back to zero might be difficult.
Reporters asked Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) about a news report on Saturday that the CECC on Thursday informed healthcare facilities that fully vaccinated medical workers, hospitalized people and their accompanying caregivers would be exempted from regular mandatory testing.
Lo said the weekly COVID-19 testing of healthcare professionals started in the middle of May, so they have been tested many times.
As many of them have been fully vaccinated, they should no longer be required to undergo weekly testing, he said.
However, if medical workers, hospitalized people and their accompanying caregivers show COVID-19 symptoms, they can still receive a government-funded test in hospital, he added.
The CECC also reported three imported cases, from Spain, the UK and the US.
The four people who died were three men and one woman, aged between 40 and 90.
They all had underlying health conditions, CECC data showed.
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