Taiwan reports record 206 local COVID cases

Taiwan reports record 206 local COVID cases

Taiwan reported a record of 206 local COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as a recent outbreak struck communities in the island’s northern region.

It was the fourth consecutive day that Taiwan, which had been hailed for its success in handling the coronavirus outbreak, had reported a rise in new infections.

Of Sunday’s cases, 90 were men and 116 women. Taipei, the island’s capital, and its adjacent New Taipei City in northern Taiwan accounted for 97 and 89 cases, respectively.

Other cities in the north, including Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Yilan and Keelung, each saw two to three cases while the rest was scattered in the central cities of Taichung and Changhua.

The spike in new infections was too sharp, and health officials were still trying to trace the sources of 48 cases, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung.

The island’s Central Epidemic Command Center on Sunday stepped up testing for medical workers and urged hospitals to postpone non-urgent surgeries and checkups until the risk of infection had receded.

After 180 new local cases were reported on Saturday, authorities announced bans on indoor social gatherings of more than five people and outdoor gatherings of more than 10 in Taipei and its surrounding areas.

Officials would introduce flexible working hours for civil servants in these areas between May 17-28 in order to reduce the risk of infection during commutes. Some secondary school classes would also be suspended.

On Saturday, long queues were seen outside Taipei’s supermarkets as consumers stocked up on food, water and other necessities. But the streets in the capital became quiet in the evening after Mayor Ko Wen-je urged residents to stay home and avoid unnecessary trips.

The number of commuters on Taipei’s metro system fell to 590,000 on Saturday, from 1.59 million a week earlier.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen posted a photo of an empty Taipei street on her Facebook page and said it was part of the island’s collective efforts to combat the pandemic.

Some Japanese internet users sent their good wishes to Taiwan, saying they hoped the island would soon stop the outbreak. They also noted that most Taiwanese residents were vigilant to COVID-19 risks and that Tsai’s administration had taken timely response measures.

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