Taiwan reported on Thursday 65,446 new COVID-19 cases, including 65,385 domestic and 61 imported cases, as well as 17 deaths, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
Here are some of the latest developments regarding the COVID situation around Taiwan as of Thursday:
Ministry of Finance to release rapid tests seized at customs
With the CECC permitting private individuals to import COVID-19 rapid tests for personal use starting May 11, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday it will release the 14,000 rapid tests currently being held at customs as soon as possible.
The ministry said it will comply with the CECC's latest regulation and release the tests to buyers as long as the buyers follow the rule that each individual can only directly import one batch with a maximum 100 COVID-19 rapid tests.
CECC mulls amending policy on pregnant women with COVID-19
After a meeting between the CECC and the Taiwan Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology, new regulations will likely soon be introduced on pregnant women with COVID-19.
According to the association, the preliminary plan is to amend hospital admission criteria for women who are under 36 weeks pregnant.They will be advised to be admitted to hospital if they show moderate to severe symptoms, and should receive further consultations to determine if they are suitable to take Pfizer's oral COVID-19 medication Paxlovid.
Meanwhile, COVID patients who are at least 36 weeks pregnant, can choose not to be hospitalized even though they are strongly suggested to do so if they experience symptoms, removing the current regulation where they are admitted automatically.
New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih (???) encouraged city residents to download the city's iCare mobile app as an alternative to the CECC's Eucare (????) to report their COVID-19 status.
Faced with a huge increase in cases in the city and more than 140,000 individuals in home quarantine, the current policy may be insufficient when responding to New Taipei's population and correlating increase in COVID cases, Hou said.
Moreover, people like seniors who are less tech-savvy will face difficulty reporting their cases, Hou added, urging the government to consider all those testing positive using rapid tests as confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Yilan County Government announced that 24 hospitals within its jurisdiction have agreed to set up priority lanes for patients who either test positive for the virus or show obvious signs of requiring medical attention.
County officials said the service extends to children, individuals with a high fever, seniors and those with unstable vital signs.
Such individuals can use the express lanes to get a consultation with a doctor as soon as possible.
COVID-19 care packages for confirmed cases can be picked up by friends or relatives of such individuals at local district offices starting Friday, according to Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (???), who added that the care packages can be reserved first over the mobile app Line.
Additionally, school events such as graduations ceremonies must be held online, while celebratory activities scheduled in May are to be postponed and held a month later, the mayor said.
Following the CECC's updated regulation effective Thursday whereby those under home quarantine or self-initiated epidemic prevention will be automatically considered to be confirmed COVID-19 cases after testing positive using a rapid test and after being confirmed by a doctor via remote diagnosis, Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (???) said Tainan will initiate an AI program on the mobile app Line to help patients more efficiently log into the system.
Huang said the system will be able to register the image of an uploaded positive rapid test which will expedite the consultation and treatment process.
Miaoli has six of its county hospitals add pandemic/fever outpatient clinics to shoulder the amount of COVID-19 consultations in the county.
The county said those with positive results from a rapid test may also seek a consultation at the clinics, where they can take PCR tests.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel