New Covid-19 cases remain in single digits for third straight day in Taiwan

A total of 8 cases were reported on Aug 10, three of which were local transmissions.
A total of 8 cases were reported on Aug 10, three of which were local transmissions.PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI - The number of Covid-19 cases in Taiwan remained in the single digit on Tuesday (Aug 5) for the third day in a row.

The drop was heartening news for many, including the government, because cases had skyrocketed on the island for nearly three months.

Eight cases were reported on Tuesday, three of which were local transmissions. The three were all detected in New Taipei city.

"We have been able to quickly conduct contact tracing between most confirmed cases. This means Covid-19 has been controlled quite well in Taiwan," Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told a press conference.

Taiwan has so far reported a total of 15,798 Covid-19 cases, of which 14,282 were local infections since May 15, when the island first saw more than 100 cases in a single day.

The number of Covid-19 deaths has risen to 814 - all but 12 recorded since May 15, according to data from Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Centre (CECC).

The authorities lifted a Level 3 Covid-19 alert from July 27 after locally transmitted cases dropped under 100 a day.

Level 3 banned people from dining in and using recreational spaces, including gyms, movie theatres, karaoke joints, nature parks and more.

The island has returned to Level 2 status on the four-tier measure. People are allowed to dine-in once again, but must remain socially distanced while doing so, and must wear masks once they leave their homes. The cap on the number of people gathering has been raised from fewer than five indoors and 10 outdoors to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.

The CECC announced on Monday that Level 2 will be in place until at least Aug 23, before the health authorities reach a consensus on whether additional Covid-19 restrictions can be lifted.

Under Level 2, national parks, outdoor recreational areas and swimming pools reopened on Tuesday, after being closed since May 19.

On Aug 5, Singapore's Ministry of Health announced that travellers to Singapore from Taiwan will not have to go through quarantine if they test negative for Covid-19 upon their arrival. They must have been in Taiwan for at least 21 days before travelling to Singapore.

Reacting to the announcement, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Taiwan was "thankful for the Singaporean government's approval of our efforts in fighting Covid-19".

The travel bubble programme that kicked off in April between Taiwan and Palau may also resume on Aug 14.

Palau's representative to Taiwan Dilmei L. Olkeriil told local media that the Micronesian island nation was even open to offering Taiwanese tourists the opportunity to get vaccinated during their travel, and was waiting for the green light from the CECC.

But restrictions in Taiwan on travellers who wish to visit are still in place because of the risks the Delta variant poses, especially as the island is in the midst of a national vaccination exercise, said the CECC on Monday.

The current border control measures do not allow foreigners to enter Taiwan unless they have already obtained residency, or have been granted permission by the health authorities. Those who do make it into the island will have to go through mandatory quarantine in designated hotels.

About 37 per cent of Taiwan's 23.5 million population have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, Mr Chen said on Tuesday.