Taiwan's new Covid-19 cases slow but restrictions to stay in coming weeks

TAIPEI (REUTERS) – Taiwan’s new Covid-19 infections have decreased and the outbreak can be controlled, the health minister said on Monday (May 31), as he urged the public to follow restrictions, which will stay in place in the coming weeks.

The island reported 347 domestic Covid-19 cases on Monday, including 73 cases added to the totals for recent days, as it continues to readjust its infection numbers amid delays in reporting positive tests.

That marked the second consecutive day in which new cases were below 400, after a rare uptick in domestic cases concentrated in Taipei and its nearby cities.

The increase, which peaked this month, prompted the government to tighten curbs, including banning in-restaurant dining and gatherings.

“The pandemic is heading towards a stage where it can be controlled,” Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told a daily news briefing, saying new cases continued to decline.

Mr Chen said “aggressive measures” would remain in place for the one to two weeks, including fines for people not wearing face masks outside and a halt to wedding banquets and wakes.

He said more stations for rapid Covid-19 tests would be set up in Taiwan’s outlying islands, where medical resources are relatively limited.

Taiwan’s Parliament approved on Monday an extra T$420 billion (S$20 billion) in stimulus spending to help the economy deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The island is ramping up its vaccination campaign but has so far given shots to less  than 2 per cent of its more than 23 million people, though millions of additional doses are on their way.

The government said on Sunday it had signed deals with two local companies to provide up to 20 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccines.

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