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[Level 3 COVID Alert] Mayor Optimistic on Slowing Down Community Spread

Pic: A map indicating the presence of positive cases in Taipei CityMayor Ko Wen-je and city officials presided over the COVID-19 press update event in the afternoon of May 30. The latest statistics from Taiwan Centers of Disease Control indicate that there has been a total of 355 domestic cases for the day (after accuracy adjustments).
 
Among these cases, 85 were reported in Taipei City. The mayor noted that this shows that the voluntary stay-at-home guidelines adopted by citizens have been effective. The current strategy for the city government is to optimize the existing cooldown measures while carrying out vaccination as soon as possible.
 
The mayor called upon residents to minimize trips to places with large crowd flows – traditional markets, supermarkets, big box retailers, and commercial districts. The city government does not wish to issue executive orders to enforce crowd management. Instead, it looks forward to the voluntary actions and self-restraint of citizens. It is confident that locals know what to do without hampering the economy, such as minimizing close quarter contact with others through limiting trips to the markets and making all necessary purchases during each trip. City Hall also contacted the self-administration associations of local markets to discuss the possibility of shutting down some of the stalls to minimize overcrowding risks.
 
Ko also pointed out that a noticeable trend of the pandemic is contagion among close family members. That is why the city government is implementing a new policy of rapid testing the entire family when a family member has tested positive. Details will be announced in the near future.
 
As for the results of today’s rapid tests in Wanhua District, the mayor remarked that the number of positive cases also saw a significant drop among the 489 people tested. The lowering of the curve showed signs of hope.
 
He also reported that after 2 weeks of readjustment and redeployment, the number of designated COVID hospital beds have been increased to 1,300, in addition to the 1,800 beds at quarantine hotel. With the implementation of severity-based flow segregation, he believes that ambulance transport of patients should encounter less problems, helping to speed up process of patients receiving care.
 
Regarding the Level 4 COVID lockdown drill conducted earlier in the day, the mayor stressed that there are no imminent danger of Taipei entering a Level 4 lockdown. However, he believes in planning and preparing for the worst, and that is why he is taking an inventory of major venues such as Taipei Arena, Heping Basketball Stadium, and Nangang World Exhibition Center.
 
Ko pointed out that there are many areas requiring improvement which we’ve noticed thanks to the Level 3 COVID alert. Events such as the overload of Taipei’s CooC Education Cloud, the adjustment to public mass transit service frequency, and possible approaches on reducing cash transactions. Also, given the high possibilities of reoccurring class cancelation while work continues in the future, we have to come up with solutions for childcare, remote learning, and working at home issues.
 
Looking at the numbers, the mayor believes that the Level 3 COVID Alert plays an effective role in slowing the spread. However, we are still left with the problem of how long will the emergency measures remain in place? The government’s priority should be to complete vaccine administration in the shortest amount of time while we continue to maintain the quasi-lockdown.