Millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are on their way to Taiwan, the health minister said on Tuesday, as he extended restrictions on the virus until mid-June, although the trend of new infections is on the decline.
After spending months keeping the virus at bay with a relatively normal life compared to many other places, Taiwan is facing a spike in domestic infections, exacerbated by a low vaccination rate of around 1% of its population .
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said two million doses of the vaccine would arrive by the end of June and 10 million by the end of August, although he did not give details, saying only that the figures included nationally developed vaccines.
Taiwan has ordered more than 20 million doses from AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) and Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) and is also developing its own vaccines.
Chen, however, made no mention of China’s offer on Monday to urgently send vaccines and medical personnel, which has already sparked an angry backlash from the Taiwanese government. Read more
The minister said while the number of infections had continued to decline since last Monday, positive rates remained high.
While the current measures were effective, Chen said he was concerned about “hidden spreaders” in the community, which authorities were unable to detect due to a time lag in obtaining them. test results.
“There was no sudden deterioration,” he said.
His ministry has been criticized by the opposition for blocking the registration of positive COVID-19 tests due to delays in reporting following the surge in cases. Read more
Chen said the virus feared it would spread further.
“The concern is… we are not able to control the hidden cases during this time, which could lead to a worsening of the pandemic,” Chen said.
Authorities are also working to locate 300 people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the capital Taipei and nearby New Taipei, Chen said, urging local governments to work with police to find these patients.
Taiwan’s level three measures, one rung below its highest alert level, would be extended until June 14, with schools and entertainment venues remaining closed and personal gatherings restricted, Chen added.
Taiwan has reported 5,456 infections since the start of the pandemic, with 35 deaths.
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.