《TAIPEI TIMES》 Domestic cases might peak by the end of May
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo, who is also deputy head of the Central Epidemic Command Center’s （CECC） medical response division, speaks to reporters at the center’s daily news briefing in Taipei yesterday. Photo courtesy of the CECC
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
Local COVID-19 cases might peak late this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC） said yesterday, while reporting that nine large polymerase chain reaction （PCR） testing stations would be set up in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan and Keelung.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung （陳時中）, who heads the center, said 63,964 local COVID-19 cases and 77 imported cases were confirmed yesterday.
The local case count was roughly the same as the two previous days, but 92 new moderate cases and 38 new severe cases were reported, while 40 deaths related to the virus were confirmed, Chen said.
Of the 609,121 local infections reported from Jan. 1 to Friday, 269 were severe cases, including 196 deaths, accounting for 0.04 percent of all cases, he said, adding that moderate cases accounted for 0.17 percent.
Of the new deaths reported, 37.5 percent were unvaccinated and 67.5 percent had not received a booster shot, said Centers for Disease Control （CDC） Deputy Director-General Philip Lo （羅一鈞）, deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division.
Among the 130 moderate and severe cases, 25 moderate cases and 14 severe cases were unvaccinated, he said.
Chen said the nation’s testing capacity can expand to about 220,000 tests per day, so if confirmed cases reach 70 percent of that number, the case count could be underestimated.
However, about 100,000 tests per day have been conducted recently, he added.
The center estimates that local case numbers could peak at about 100,000 between Friday next week and May 30, Lo said.
The center’s previous estimation was that the peak might be between 100,000 to 200,000 cases per day, but daily case counts have not yet reached 100,000 and have remained roughly the same over the past few days, he said.
As President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） on Friday said that large PCR testing stations should be set up in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan and Keelung, the CECC yesterday revealed nine stations that are soon to be established.
The testing stations in Taipei would be at Liberty Square （自由廣場）, operated by Taipei Veterans General Hospital; National Taiwan University （NTU） College of Medicine’s gymnasium, operated by NTU Hospital; and Taipei Municipal Stadium （台北市立體育場）, for which the team is under evaluation.
In New Taipei City, they would be in Sijhih District （汐止）, operated by Tri-Service General Hospital （TSGH）; Sanchong District （三重）, operated by TSGH’s Songshan branch; and Jiangzicui （江子翠）, operated by New Taipei City Hospital.
In Taoyuan, they would be in Dayuan District （大園）, operated by the Taipei Medical University-affiliated Hsin Kuo Min Hospital; and Longtan District （龍潭）, operated by Taoyaun Armed Forces General Hospital.
The testing station in Keelung would be at Keelung Civic Plaza （市民廣場） and operated by Keelung City Municipal Hospital.
The CECC is also trying to give people eligible for oral COVID-19 antiviral drugs better access to medication, Chen said, adding that 1,038 courses of Paxlovid and 381 courses of molnupiravir were prescribed on Friday.