TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan will not go into a Shanghai-like lockdown to control a rise in domestic COVID-19 cases as the vast majority of those infected have no symptoms or show only minor symptoms, Premier Su Tseng-chang said on Saturday, April 23, pledging to keep opening up.
Since the beginning of the year, Taiwan has seen an increase in local cases, but the total number of illnesses has remained low – 18,436 since January 1 for a population of 23 million – and just four people have died.
The government has been promoting the “new Taiwan model,” which involves learning to progressively live with the virus and avoiding shutting down the economy, unlike Shanghai, which is in its third week of a pandemic lockdown.
Su told reporters that the administration was confident in the efforts being taken and that it was “fortunate” that more than 99 percent of the cases were asymptomatic or had very little illness.
“We won’t go into a lockdown like Shanghai, but we also won’t stop wearing face masks and anti-pandemic measures right away,” he added.
By the end of the month, the government anticipates daily cases to exceed 10,000 but warns that the peak will be some weeks away.
Su said more vaccines and rapid tests were on their way to help cope with the uptick in infections to “prepare for the next steps in re-opening” and reduce the amount of time those with COVID-19 or their contacts have to spend in quarantine.
The government has already reduced the quarantine period for all new arrivals in Taiwan from two weeks to ten days, and it is considering further incremental reductions as it prepares to reopen its borders.
About 80% of Taiwan’s 23 million people are now double vaccinated and almost 60% have had a first booster dose, while mask-wearing mandates remain in place.
Taiwan has reported 47,100 infections since the pandemic began more than two years ago and 856 deaths.