Chen said the government will tighten COVID-19 prevention measures at all places of business, which will have to close if they are unable to comply.
Taiwan has plenty of personal protective equipment and people don’t need to panic – buy it, he told reporters, amid rising domestic infection numbers.
The sudden emergence of a new cluster of cases with no clear origin – six were reported on Tuesday – has baffled an island that is proud of its decisive response to COVID-19 as well as its effective contact tracing and quarantine system.
Chen urged people to be calm, noting that Taiwan has an effective disease response mechanism.
The state-run Central News Agency earlier reported Chen saying that Taiwan may raise its pandemic alert level a notch to 3 in the “next few days,” which would force stores selling non-essential items to close.
The island has already restricted public gatherings due to the new outbreak.
Calling the situation “very serious,” Chen told parliament earlier on Wednesday that the alert level could be lifted, which would also limit gatherings to five people inside and 10 outside, as well. than closing non-essential businesses.
Taiwan effectively closed its borders at the start of the pandemic, helping to keep infections under control. It has so far reported a total of 1,231 cases and 12 deaths.
He announced four new imported cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday – three from the Philippines and one from India.
The island is joining Singapore and Vietnam – which have also controlled COVID-19 for months – to tackle further flare-ups of the disease.