CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan confirms nine Omicron cases, receives new batch of Pfizer-BNT

Taiwan on Thursday confirmed nine previous COVID-19 cases as Omicron variant infections, and received its 15th shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The nine Omicron cases bring the total in Taiwan to 59, all of whom tested positive for COVID-19 on entry or before completing the mandatory quarantine required for all arrivals, CECC official Lo Yi-chun (???) said.

Of the 59 cases, 55 are classified as breakthrough cases of COVID-19, three have only received one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and one has not been vaccinated against the disease, Lo said.

Lo said that of the 38 cases for which the CECC completed genome sequencing in the past week, 32 were of the Omicron variant and six were Delta infections, which reflects Omicron's increasing dominance worldwide.

Also on Thursday, Taiwan received its 15th shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, containing 938,300 doses, the CECC said.

The shipment arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 6:31 a.m. on a China Airlines flight. The doses expire on March 28, according to the CECC.

The delivery is part of 15 million doses of the Pfizer-BNT vaccine ordered by Hon Hai Precision Co./YongLin Charity, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., and the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, and are being donated to the government for distribution.

With Thursday's shipment, Taiwan has now received over 13.3 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and 38 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in total.

To date, 79.9 percent of Taiwan's population of 23.39 million have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 68 percent have gotten two doses. An additional 130,943 people have received a third shot, in the form of an additional dose or a booster, CECC data shows.

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (???) on Thursday urged people in Taiwan to get vaccinated against COVID-19 so as to help guard against the spread of the disease.

Although domestic case numbers have fallen, the number of imported cases has more than doubled in December compared to the past three months, Chen said.

Taiwan has reported 387 imported COVID-19 cases so far this month, and it reported 173, 181, and 183 cases in September, October, and November, respectively, Chen said.

The COVID-19 situation globally is severe, and it is possible that Taiwan could see up to 50 imported cases a day, Chen said, calling for everyone to play their part in preventing the spread of the disease by wearing masks, washing their hands frequently and getting vaccinated.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel