Taipei, Jan 22 (CNA) Taiwan will have to raise the COVID-19 alert to Level 3 if widespread outbreaks occur in communities, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Saturday, noting the current spread of the disease. stay under control.

Although the number of new daily national cases rose to 82 on Saturday – the highest recorded in 2022, the sources of most infections are still traceable, Chen said at the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) daily press briefing. ).

But if there are widespread infections in multiple locations, the government will need to raise the COVID-19 alert level, he said, noting the faster transmission of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Chen said it may become impossible to achieve the goal of “zero COVID”, and the government will make changes to its current measures used to manage the disease, including quarantine rules and methods for tracing COVID-19. contacts, so that the situation can still be manageable for Taiwan’s medical services. system.

The CECC takes a step-by-step approach in its decision-making process, so that society can handle the current COVID-19 situation, Chen said.

The increase in locally transmitted cases on Saturday did not result in a change to the current Level 2 COVID-19 alert, which is due to expire on January 24, but several measures and restrictions have been introduced to contain the spread of the disease, such as banning eating on public transport and strengthening enforcement of required registration when people go to restaurants.

The check-in measure came into focus after some recent cases, who were believed to have become infected while dining together with other people later confirmed to have COVID-19, failed to register their visit to a restaurant in Taoyuan, according to Chen.

Because 63 domestic cases reported on Friday and Saturday involve migrant workers who have been in the community for some time since two of their co-workers had a restaurant meal on January 9, the CECC is still investigating the extent of the spread of COVID. -19 linked to these infections, Chen said.

As the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday is due to start on Jan. 29, when many people travel for family reunions, Chen said there are currently no plans to restrict people’s movements, but the CECC is constantly reviewing its response to the virus.

Taiwan raised the four-level COVID-19 alert to Level 2 on May 11 last year due to local COVID-19 infections from unknown sources. The alert was later raised to level 3 first in Taipei and New Taipei on May 15 when the country recorded daily national cases of over 100 for the first time since its first case of COVID-19 was reported. reported in January 2020.

The Level 3 alert was introduced nationwide on May 19 and lasted until July 27, when the COVID-19 alert was lowered to Level 2, although several Level 3 rules, such that the requirement to wear a face mask outside of one’s home, have been maintained.

The level 2 alert has since been extended every two weeks, while the government eased some restrictions in the following months, before the rules were tightened again in early January, when several domestic cases linked to the international airport from Taiwan Taoyuan have been reported.

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