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    《TAIPEI TIMES》 CECC sets delivery rules to reduce risk

    A pharmacist in New Taipei City’s Banciao District hands a customer a COVID-19 rapid test kit yesterday.
Photo: CNA

    A pharmacist in New Taipei City’s Banciao District hands a customer a COVID-19 rapid test kit yesterday. Photo: CNA

    2022/04/30 03:00

    AMPLE SUPPLY: The public should not rush to buy rapid COVID-19 test kits, as there are plenty available, and the FDA has approved at-home saliva tests, the health minister said

    By Yang Yuan-ting and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

    The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has designed a standardized zero-contact protocol for delivering packages to people in home isolation for COVID-19, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, as the center reported 11,974 new domestic COVID-19 cases.

    Health officials and delivery worker unions created the protocol to minimize infection risks across the industry, after discussing the issues in a meeting earlier that day, Chen told the center’s daily news conference.

    The protocol would enable delivery workers to do their jobs without directly interacting with confirmed cases, he said.

    Deliveries to hospitals and other medical facilities would be banned, he said, adding that packages must be left at a location with good ventilation.

    Payments are to be made electronically while officials consider other payment options, he said.

    The Food and Drug Administration yesterday approved the first at-home saliva rapid COVID-19 test kit, after businesses applied to acquire up to 30 million of the South Korea-made products.

    The agency has so far approved 21 at-home rapid test kits, most of which use throat swabs or nose swabs to detect the virus, while the five saliva rapid test kits used in Taiwan must all be administrated by a healthcare worker.

    Chen said that 260,514 rapid test kits were sold by pharmacies as of noon yesterday out of 411,000 tests supplied by the government for the day.

    He urged the public not to rush to stockpile rapid tests, as there is ample supply and kits are being supplied to retailers every day.

    Pharmacies are allocated enough rapid tests to serve 78 people per day, and deliveries would continue throughout today to ensure supply, he said.

    However, the CECC was advising pharmacies to prepare to accept deliveries at about noon to prevent possible delays, he said, adding that the center would also deliver kits to drug stores that are open on Sundays.

    The CECC still requires that a COVID-19 case is confirmed using a polymerase chain reaction test, as 10 percent of positive tests shown in rapid test kit results are false positives, Chen said.

    Erroneously confirming a person to have COVID-19 would result in them and their contacts facing unnecessary restrictions, he said.

    The announcements came as the CECC reported 11,974 new domestic COVID-19 cases and two deaths.

    The fatalities — men in their 80s and 50s — passed away on Saturday last week and Sunday respectively, the CECC said.

    One of them had received three shots of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the other had received two, the center said, adding that the men had tested positive on Monday last week and Thursday last week respectively.

    The CECC also reported that 29 people had moderate cases of COVID-19, and one developed severe symptoms.

    Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said the new severe case is that of a woman in her 80s, who has a chronic neurological disease.

    The woman, who received three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, developed pneumonia and respiratory complications after she contracted the disease, Lo said.

    She is being treated with the antiviral drug remdesivir and is receiving oxygen therapy, he said.

    The 29 moderate cases are people aged 10 to 100, including 15 who are not vaccinated, the CECC said.

    One of the 15 unvaccinated cases is a teenager who has a history of heart and neurological diseases, Lo said.

    Additional reporting by Wu Liang-yi

    新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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