《TAIPEI TIMES》 CECC reports 180 local infections
A soldier disinfects his colleague at a COVID-19 testing center in Taipei, yesterday. Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters
RAISED ALERT: If an average of 100 cases are reported for 14 consecutive days, a level 4 warning would be issued and travel restricted, Chen Shih-chung said
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
The Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC） yesterday reported 185 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 180 locally transmitted cases and five imported cases.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung （陳時中）, who heads the center, said that the 180 local infections included 58 men and 112 women, aged from under five years old to older than 80, and the onset of symptoms occurred between April 23 and Friday.
The confirmed cases include 89 residents of Taipei, 75 residents of New Taipei City, six from Changhua County, four in Yilan County and Taoyuan, and one each in Taichung and Keelung, he said.
Among the cases in Taipei, 43 were in Wanhua District （萬華）, he added.
As cluster infections, involving dozens of cases, were confirmed in Wanhua, New Taipei City’s Lujhou District （蘆洲） and Yilan County in the past week, and most cases reported yesterday were in Taipei and New Taipei City, Chen said that the center would raise the COVID-19 alert to level 3 in the cities.
Due to the “unique characteristics” of businesses in Wanhua, many infected cases were unwilling to reveal their contacts and whereabouts, he said.
Centers for Disease Control （CDC） Deputy Director-General Philip Lo （羅一鈞）, deputy chief of the CECC’s medical response division, said that genome sequencing on confirmed cases shows that several in the clustered infections might be linked to an earlier cluster infection among China Airlines Ltd （中華航空） crew members and its quarantine hotel, Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport.
Seventeen cases in the airline and hotel cluster, 10 associated with social club members at Lujhou, four associated with tea houses in Wanhua and a case at a gambling house in Yilan County were all infected by the same strain of the UK variant, he said.
Chen said that enhanced disease prevention measures would be implemented nationwide along with tightened restrictions in Taipei and New Taipei City, effective immediately until May 28.
Asked if travel restrictions or lockdowns might be implemented, he said that travel restrictions could be introduced if “an average of 100 confirmed cases are reported for 14 consecutive days,” when a level 4 warning will be issued.
Medical response measures in Taipei and New Taipei City are to be bolstered immediately, including by expanding designated COVID-19 wards, separating healthcare practitioners and patients to avoid cross infection, and expanding testing capacity, Chen said.