CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan reports five new COVID-19 cases, extends Level 2 alert

Taiwan reported five new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, all contracted overseas, and extended the Level 2 COVID-19 alert currently in place for another two weeks.

The new COVID-19 cases were two Taiwanese and three foreign nationals who traveled to Taiwan from Vietnam, the United Kingdom, China, and Malaysia, the CECC said.

To date, Taiwan has confirmed a total of 16,742 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in early 2020, of which 14,427 were domestic infections reported since May 15, 2021, when the country first recorded more than 100 cases in a single day.

Daily domestic case numbers have fallen to mostly single digits or zero since Aug. 15, and only one such case, involving a former researcher at Academia Sinica, has been reported in the past month.

With no new deaths reported Monday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 fatalities remains at 848, with all but 12 recorded since May 15. Taiwan last reported a death related to COVID-19 on Nov. 9.

On Monday, the CECC also announced that the current Level 2 COVID-19 alert, which was set to expire at the end of the day, will be extended for another two weeks until Dec. 27.

The CECC has not adjusted the nation's mask mandate and other disease prevention rules for the two-week extension, meaning that people are still required to wear masks while outside of their homes, unless they are doing certain things, such as eating or exercising.

Taiwan first raised the COVID-19 alert to Level 2, the third highest level on the CECC's four-tier scale, on May 11, after it began seeing domestic cases with unknown sources.

The alert level was raised to Level 3 on May 19 following a surge in new domestically transmitted cases to more than 100 a day, but it was lowered back to Level 2 on July 27 after a month of reporting fewer than 100 domestic cases per day.

When asked about the possibility of lowering the COVID-19 alert to Level 1 after the Lunar New Year holiday, something Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (???) hoped for in a radio interview Sunday, CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (???) said it will depend on the COVID-19 situation at the time.

The CECC will consider the number of domestic cases in Taiwan, the COVID-19 vaccination rate, and how the disease is spreading overseas before making any decisions, CECC official Lo Yi-chun (???) said, noting that going to Level 1 would be accompanied by looser border restrictions.

Taiwan still requires all arrivals to go into 14-day quarantines to keep COVID-19 at bay.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel