《TAIPEI TIMES》 CECC to launch COVID-19 self-reporting system
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung holds an information board at the Central Epidemic Command Center’s （CECC） daily news briefing in Taipei yesterday. Photo courtesy of the CECC
NEW APPROACH: As Taiwan reported more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time, a self-reporting system would make it easier to track contacts, the health minister said
By Chiu Chih-jou and Liu Tzu-hsuan / Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA
The Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC） yesterday announced a self-reporting system for people who test positive for COVID-19, as local infections continue to rise, with the center reporting more than 10,000 cases in a single day for the first time.
Under the system, which starts on Sunday, the government would alert anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 in a polymerase chain reaction test taken at a hospital or clinic with a text message telling them to fill out a form online, said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang （莊人祥）, who is the CECC’s spokesman.
The message would include a single-use link for the recipient to provide information to determine if they are at risk of developing severe symptoms, such as whether they are pregnant or undergoing dialysis, he said.
Additionally, they would provide information on close contacts, such as people they live, work or attend school with, he said.
The system would then send isolation notices to the close contacts provided, he added.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung （陳時中）, who heads the CECC, said that people confirmed to have COVID-19 would first receive a telephone call to verify their identity, followed by the text message.
Parents or designated guardians should fill in the information for children under the age of 12, he said.
The self-report system can expedite the process of contacting close contacts, he added.
Under the current system, information on contacts is gathered directly by government staff from people who tested positive. Critics say staff have been overwhelmed amid a surge in local cases.
Yesterday’s 11,517 cases — 11,353 domestic infections and 164 among people arriving from abroad — was a new single-day high and the first time that Taiwan had reported more than 10,000 daily cases.
The two deaths were a man in his 70s and a woman in her 60s, both of whom had been unvaccinated. The man tested positive on Monday last week and the woman on Tuesday last week, and they passed away on Friday last week and Wednesday last week respectively.
The CECC also reported that 23 people had developed moderate symptoms of COVID-19 and three had developed severe symptoms.
Of the 51,663 domestic cases recorded nationwide from Jan. 1 to Wednesday, 142 were classified as having moderate symptoms and 17 as severe, accounting for 0.27 percent and 0.03 percent of the total respectively.
All other cases have displayed either mild or no symptoms, the CECC said.
New Taipei City reported the highest number of cases, with 4,552, followed by Taipei with 2,424, Taoyuan with 1,481, Taichung with 621 and Keelung with 504.
Kaohsiung reported 340 cases, Hualien County 303, Tainan 193, Yilan County 171, Hsinchu County 115, Hsinchu City 113, Changhua County 103, Pingtung County 94, Taitung County 87, Yunlin County 83, Miaoli County 63, Nantou County 42, Chiayi County 26 and Chiayi City 24.
Matsu recorded six cases, while Penghu and Kinmen counties reported four each.
Chen yesterday announced that Taiwan has signed a procurement contract to purchase about 4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
The order would consist of 1.8 million doses for adults and 2.2 million doses for children, he said, adding that the Food and Drug Administration has issued emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11.
Chen said he hoped the first batch of the new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines would arrive by the middle of next month.