Easing of border controls "possible" by July
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung says the government could begin easing face mask mandates in July, when it also hopes to lift at least some border controls.
According to Chen, the current coronavirus wave is expected to peak between 20 May and 10 June, and the number of domestic coronavirus infections is expected to be on the decline by July.
Chen says while the government is seeking to relax border controls, the problem with lifting regulations now is not due to the spread of infections, but instead because of the risk it could increase the burden on the island's hospital and healthcare systems.
Speaking after a legislative hearing, the health minister said Taiwan should have a more sufficient healthcare capacity by July, so relaxing border policies will be "less of a problem" then.
The health minister also said that he hopes to slowly ease face mask mandates for outdoor or open settings from July, but the mandate will not be fully lifted "quickly".
This comes as the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has confirmed 50,780 domestic cases of Covid-19 today, as well as 12 new deaths. The CECC says 16,906 of the new local infections were recorded in New Taipei, and 10,283 were in Taipei.
The centre says 34 of the domestic cases were moderate, while 14 were severe. One of the 12 patients who died sometime between 6 and 8 May was in her 20s while the others were over 50 years of age. 3 of the cases were not vaccinated, and 10 had a history of long-term illness.
In other Covid news, the Ministry of Health says more than 100-million coronavirus rapid tests are expected to be delivered to Taiwan by the end of this month.
According to the ministry, the government has ordered around 195 million Roche-brand and 50 million Abbott-brand rapid tests.
Another 35.7 million tests of unidentified brands are also on order and should be delivered by the end of this month along with 30-million Abbott and 65 million Roche rapid tests.
The statement comes as the government is continuing to face criticism for a lack of rapid test kits amid increasing demand for testing.
The island's four major convenience stores have now resumed selling test kits and CECC spokesman Zhuang Ren-xiang says the government hopes that every household will have at least one box of tests by 20 May.