CECC adopts new Covid control model
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung says the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) is now partially suspending coronavirus contact tracing and a new disease control model is being put into place.
The suspension of contract tracing applies only to travellers who test positive for the virus in Taiwan, either on arrival at the airport or during mandatory quarantine.
According to Chen, the decision has been made in order to free up resources to monitor the growing number of domestic cases and contact tracing on new imported cases will only be done if any of them are believed to be linked to clusters at quarantine hotels or centres.
Chen says the aim is to bring the situation under control, despite it currently being impossible to achieve zero new domestic cases.
The health minister is also stressing that the daily number of domestic cases is still low compared to many other countries, and he believes if people work together and do their part to prevent the spread of the virus, the situation will be manageable.
This comes as public health officials reported 531 new coronavirus cases on Thursday (7 April), more than half of which were domestic infections.
The new domestic case load of 382 has surpassed a hundred for seven days in a row, with the latest figure seen as the highest daily total this year.
The CECC says that, of the more than 2,300 domestic cases recorded between 1 January and 6 April, only five were moderate to severe infections. The others were either mild or asymptomatic. The centre also reported 149 new imported cases. However, no deaths were reported, and the number of confirmed coronavirus-related fatalities remains at 853.
The CECC has said that based on the trajectory of omicron variant outbreaks in many other countries, it's likely that infections here will peak in a month or two.
In addition, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung says the CECC is evaluating plans to have people with light coronavirus symptoms to quarantine at home if the number of domestic cases continues to rise.
The statement comes after New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih called for a review of quarantine policies due to concerns about the fast rising number of cases in the city.
According to the health minister, officials are currently drafting related guidelines, but several "major questions" still need to be resolved before such a policy can be implemented.
Chen says it still has to be decided under what conditions a person qualifies as having 'light symptoms,' and what to do with a person's cohabitants -- whether it will be one person to a room or one person to a household. The health minister is also stressing that questions remain as to how remote healthcare services can be provided on a very large scale.
The CECC has said that domestic coronavirus cases will likely continue to rise in the near term.
In related news, the CECC says it is now reviewing the government's coronavirus-related school closure policies.
The move comes amid complaints that large-scale suspension of classes will affect children's right to education, and that the current standards for class suspensions are too rigid.
A total of 128 schools islandwide have currently suspended classes due coronavirus cases.
According to the CECC, it is reassessing the criteria for school closures with the Ministry of Education and a revised version of regulations will be released sometime next week.
Schools are currently required to move completely to remote classes for 10 days, if two students are confirmed with the disease.