No tightening of border controls planned
The Central Epidemic Command Center says the island's border controls will not be tightened, despite concerns about the Omicron coronavirus variant.
The Omicron variant has so far been identified in three imported cases from
Eswatini, the UK and the US.
According to Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, although highly transmissible, Omicron appears to cause less severe symptoms than other variants, and he believes the government's current border controls will help detect most cases of the virus.
The health minister says the fact that Taiwan has reported cases of the new variant comes as "no surprise," as it's being reported in many countries and would have eventually entered Taiwan anyway.
But the health minister is stressing the need for people to continue wearing face masks, to wash their hands frequently, adhere to social distancing guidelines and get vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as possible.
Speaking to former president Chen Shui-bian on a radio show, the health minister said he hopes to lower the current coronavirus alert level after the Lunar New Year holiday.
In related news, the health minister is calling on all those that have received their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine shot for five months to get a booster.
Chen says they can make an appointment directly with a hospital of their choice without going through the 1922 vaccination website.
He says in addition to the hospitals that his ministry has a contract with, people can also use the out-patient service during night-time at military hospitals, veterans hospitals and those that belong to the health ministry.
Chen says all medical personnel, anti-epidemic workers, people aged beyond 65 and residents at long-term care facilities should receive a booster.
He stresses that according to preliminary tests abroad, the best way to strengthen protection against breakthrough infections and the Omicron variant is an additional shot five to six months after two vaccine jabs.