Workers at Feng Chia Night Market in Taichung hold signs in an undated photograph. The Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday raised the COVID-19 warning to level 2 and implemented new restrictions and measures effective until June 8, including asking that people practice social distancing at night markets. Photo copied by Tsai Shu-yuan, Taipei Times
‘LOCAL TRANSMISSION’: The nation reported 11 new cases, including seven local infections in the north, the highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
The COVD-19 situation has entered the “local transmission” stage and enhanced disease prevention measures have been implemented until June 8, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced yesterday as it reported six locally transmitted cases with unclear infection sources.
The center reported 11 new cases yesterday: four imported cases from India, and seven local infections in northern Taiwan, the highest daily number of cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung （陳時中）, who heads the center, said that one of the local infections — case No. 1,201 — is a woman who is a family member living with an infected China Airlines （華航） pilot — case No.1,187 reported on Monday — and that she tested positive during home isolation.
Case No. 1,202 is a woman who works at the Galaxy Baccarat （銀河百家樂） gambling house on Zhongzheng N Road in Yilan County’s Luodong Township （羅東）.
Chen said the woman began suffering chills, general weakness, coughing and fever on Sunday, so she sought treatment at a hospital and was tested for COVID-19. The test came back positive on Monday evening.
He said the woman’s workplace is an indoor, confined and crowded space, in which people often stay for a long time, so the infection risk is high.
The Yilan County Public Health Bureau immediately placed 35 people — members of her family, colleagues and frequent customers — in home isolation and arranged for testing.
Case No. 1,202 worked at the gambling house from midnight to 8am between Friday and Sunday, so people who have visited should monitor their health and seek medical attention at a designated COVID-19 hospital if suspected symptoms occur, Chen said.
As of yesterday, four close contacts had tested positive, three of the woman’s colleagues and a frequent customer, he said.
Case No. 1,203 is a man in his 60s who began suffering fatigue, coughing and chills on Friday last week. He sought treatment at a hospital after developing a fever on Sunday and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, Chen said.
The man visited Jing Hua Ting Banquet Hall （晶華亭餐廳） in New Taipei City’s Sinjhuang District （新莊） on Tuesday last week, as well as Lai Lai Massage Center’s Luzhou Changan Branch （來來按摩蘆洲長安店） and Big Windmill Wedding Plaza （大風車婚宴會館） in New Taipei City’s Lujhou District （蘆洲） on Thursday last week, he said, adding that the times are still to be confirmed.
As the COVID-19 situation has entered the “local transmission” stage, the warning has been raised to level 2 and disease prevention measures are to be enhanced until June 8, Chen said.
People should avoid going to crowded places with a high infection risk and should wear a mask at all times, he said.
Social distancing measures, contact registration, body temperature measurement, disinfection, crowd control and traffic flow planning, and other disease prevention measures should be practiced at all gatherings, businesses and public venues, or the events should be postponed or premises temporarily closed, he said.
Public gatherings with more than 500 people outdoors or 100 people indoors should have designated seating arrangements, require contact registration, mandatory mask wearing and a ban on eating, and a disease prevention plan should be filed with the competent authority for approval, he added.
Restaurants are required to enforce contact registration and to use division boards to separate strangers, he said.
Eating and drinking is banned on Taiwan High-Speed Rail and Taiwan Railways Administration trains, public buses and other public transportation, Chen said.
People are banned from visiting patients at hospitals or residents of long-term care centers across the nation until June 8, he said.
The exceptions include patients who are undergoing surgery or an invasive treatment where a consent form needs to be signed; where the condition of a patient needs to be explained to family members; or when a patient’s health worsens and they need extended medical treatment.