PETTY CRACKDOWNSNot to be outdone, local governments also lashed out at the migrant workers. ICRT Central Taiwan reporter Courtney Donovan Smith observed that those two counties have a long history of targeting migrant workers for police harassment and petty crackdowns. Silence, because migrant workers are disposable commodities to them. Remember, whatever happens to migrant workers, can happen to you. Notes from Central Taiwan is a column written by long-term resident Michael Turton, who provides incisive commentary informed by three decades of living in and writing about his adoptive country.
COVID-19: Domestic cases drop below 200 per dayBy Lee I-chia / Staff reporterThe Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 174 local COVID-19 infections and 26 deaths. The center also reported 26 deaths due to COVID-19 — 15 men and 11 women who were aged from their 50s to older than 90. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center, speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. There were also 181 empty beds in COVID-19 intensive care units in Taipei and New Taipei City hospitals, and 588 additional empty beds nationwide, he said. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients released from isolation has reached about half of the total confirmed cases in Taiwan, Chen said.
COVID-19: FDA approves import plans for home testing kitsStaff writer, with CNAThe importation of two types of COVID-19 home testing kits has been approved, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Saturday. Three companies that applied for a license to import the kits — “SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Self Test Nasal” by Swiss biotechnology firm Roche and “Check It COVID-19 Test Kit” by US firm Lucira — have been granted approval, FDA Medical Devices and Cosmetics Division specialist Lin Hsin-hui (林欣慧) said. Photo: CNAThe FDA is to issue guidelines on how to conduct home testing before the kits enter the market, Lin added. The products require users to swab inside their nose, with Roche’s kit testing for COVID-19 antigens and Lucira’s kit testing for the virus’ nucleic acid, she said. A person is tested for COVID-19 at a testing station in New Taipei City yesterday.
On Friday, 663,100 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, about half of the 1.24 million doses donated by Japan, were distributed to local governments. Medical staff administer a shot of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to a person at a care home in Chiayi County yesterday. Some politicians last week asked why the price of the vaccine candidates by local vaccine makers seemed to be much higher than major vaccines from other countries. Chuang yesterday said that different vaccines are made using different technologies, and the domestically produced ones are protein subunit vaccines. Local vaccine makers are also planning to conduct phase 3 trials in other countries, hoping to obtain international verification, Chuang said.
Ministry backs ASE order confining migrant workersStaff writer, with CNAAn announcement by ASE Technology Holding Co (ASE, 日月光投控) ordering its migrant workers to move from private rented accommodation to company dormitories is in line with Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) regulations, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Saturday. By stepping up regulation of worker accommodation, the company hopes to prevent more migrant workers contracting COVID-19, the statement said. The entrance to the Ministry of Economic Affairs is pictured in Taipei in an undated photograph. Photo: Lin Jin-hua, Taipei TimesThe statement did not specify which CECC regulations the company was following. Guidelines issued by the bureau on Monday last week state that companies operating assembly lines should divide workers into groups.
COVID-19: Too much screen time can hurt kids’ eyes: specialistBy Liao Hsueh-ju and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writerRemote learning can place increased strain on children’s eyes and parents should supervise the amount of time they spend in front of a screen during the COVID-19 pandemic, a Hsinchu-based ophthalmologist said. Taiwan’s level 3 COVID-19 alert means that schools nationwide remain closed and have shifted to online classes. Chen Ying-shan (陳瑩山), a doctor at China Medical University Hospital’s Hsinchu Branch, said that he recently treated a high-school student whose sight declined from minus-1.5 to minus-3.5 diopters since the COVID-19 outbreak began. A student looks at a tablet screen while participating in an online class in Taipei on June 1. Resting the eyes means not using devices with screens, especially cellphones, which have a smaller screen than computers and are more tiring on the eyes, he said.
COVID-19: CECC reports 250 new local cases, 26 deathsBy Lee I-chia / Staff reporterThe Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 250 new local COVID-19 cases and 26 deaths. Most new cases were reported in northern Taiwan, with 133 in New Taipei City, 65 in Taipei, 16 in Keelung and 13 in Taoyuan, Chen said. Healthcare workers collect COVID-19 test samples from a person at a test station in New Taipei City’s Banciao District yesterday. Among the 26 deaths reported yesterday, 17 were men and nine women, who were aged from their 40s to older than 100, Chen said. The center is thankful that many people who had plans to travel over the weekend instead stayed at home, Chen Tsung-yen said.
COVID-19: Eligibility for Moderna jab expandedROLLING OUT DOSES: The expansion aims to speed up Taiwan’s vaccination drive by making more Moderna jabs available to workers at hospitals, the CECC saidBy Lee I-chia / Staff reporterThe Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers in the highest vaccine priority group. A total of 6,171 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and 9,507 doses of the Moderna vaccine had as of Friday been administered across the nation, CECC data showed. Boxes of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine valid until the middle of October are displayed in Changhua County yesterday. Healthcare workers receive COVID-19 vaccine shots at Chiayi Municipal Sports Park Gymnasium in Chiayi City yesterday. Prosecutors and forensic scientists might be added to the vaccine priority list, as those groups frequently come into contact with the bodies of those who died from COVID-19, Chen said.
COVID-19: Clinic list shows people in line to get jabsBy Jason Pan / Staff reporterProminent businesspeople and figures in entertainment yesterday said that they were on a list and had been vaccinated for COVID-19 at a Good Liver Clinic (好心肝診所) branch in Taipei. A Good Liver Clinic sign at an entrance to one of its branches is pictured in Taipei yesterday. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said that he had handed a list, apparently of names of people who Good Liver Clinic had vaccinated, over to prosecutors. The Taipei Medical Association condemned the Taipei City Government in a press release. Meanwhile, prosecutors have initiated an investigation into reports of “VIP access” to COVID-19 vaccines at Taichung Veterans General Hospital.
Photo: Tung Chen-kuo, Taipei TimesThe ceremonies and banquets usually make up the majority of flower sales during this time of the year, they said. Another farmer, surnamed Nai (乃), said that the overheads on a 293.4 ping (970m2) plot of land could be as much as NT$200,000. The county government is today to survey the potential losses, and the township would ask that any subsidies include the flower industry, he said. A farmer surnamed Lin (林) said that exports for Texas bluebells stopped in April, but domestic sales had also been battered amid the outbreak. Another farmer, surnamed Wu (吳), turned to online platforms to sell the flowers and minimize losses, offering a bouquet for NT$200 while giving away a bouquet for free.
COVID-19: Allergies should not deter vaccination, doctor saysStaff writer, with CNAPeople who are allergic to certain foods or medications should still get vaccinated against COVID-19, as most reactions can be treated, a Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital medical expert said on Thursday. A medical worker is inoculated with a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Fu Jen Catholic University Hospital in New Taipei City’s Taishan District yesterday. At least 759,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Taiwan as of Thursday, most of them from AstraZeneca. Taiwanese are more prone to medicine-induced allergic reactions than people from other countries, he said. Vaccines manufactured by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson contain an excipient called polysorbate, while vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna use polyethylene glycol (PEG), Chen said.
COVID-19: Taipei cabbies can double as deliver drivers: mayorEXPANDING OPTIONS: New Taipei City yesterday also announced that drivers could deliver meals and goods, a decision that local unions welcomed amid a virus alertBy Cheng Ming-hsiang, Tsai Ya-hua and Jake Chung / Staff reporters, with staff writerTaipei taxis are allowed to double as meal and cargo delivery vehicles during level 2, 3 or 4 COVID-19 alerts, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Thursday. However, taxi drivers would have to follow industry accepted pricing and not use cab meter rates, he said. This would facilitate transportation for the logistics industry, give taxi drivers an additional source of income and help stores sell goods through online platforms, Chung said. Photo: Wang Shu-hsiu, Taipei TimeSome taxi drivers have chosen to stop working during the pandemic, but many say they cannot, as they have to support their families. Taxi drivers did not receive fuel stipends this year, Cheng said, adding that even if there were stipends, many drivers would rather rely on their earnings than government subsidies.
COVID-19: CECC reports 286 local virus casesCARING FOR THE SICK: The center said that it would distribute monoclonal antibody drugs and negative pressure isolation units to hospitals across the nationBy Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporterThe Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 286 new local cases of COVID-19 and 24 deaths. The local cases are 141 males and 145 females, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a daily news briefing in Taipei. This week’s total case number seems to have slightly decreased compared with last week’s total, but has remained relatively level, Chen said. Photo: CNAPrevious centers of the local outbreak recorded the largest number of new cases, with 120 in New Taipei City, 56 in Miaoli County and 49 in Taipei, center data showed. As of yesterday, Taiwan had recorded 12,500 confirmed cases, including 11,294 local cases and 1,153 imported ones, and 385 deaths from the disease, the data showed.
COVID-19: Medigen results good, experts say‘SECOND BEST’: A researcher said that as phase 3 vaccine trials could take several years, it would be best for Taiwan to use the vaccines based on the phase 2 resultsStaff writer, with CNAPhase 2 clinical trial results of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp generated good data, experts said, although they warned that there was still no way to know how effectively it would prevent the disease. “Data look quite good,” Academia Sinica researcher Michael Lai (賴明詔) said on Thursday after Medigen announced that its vaccine candidate had shown no major safety concerns. There are many ways to produce vaccines, including via protein subunits such as the one Medigen is working on, he said. It would be acceptable for Medigen to apply for EUA with only the results of its phase 2 trials, he said. Medigen said it would seek an EUA from the Food and Drug Administration as soon as possible based on the promising results from its phase 2 clinical trials.
FDA unveils standards for EUA of local vaccinesUNBLINDING: The efficacy of locally developed COVID-19 vaccines must at least be on par with the AstraZeneca vaccine to be granted emergency use authorizationBy Kayleigh Madjar / Staff writer, with CNAThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday announced emergency use authorization (EUA) standards for locally developed COVID-19 vaccines, just hours before Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端) announced its phase 2 trial results. The standards include safety data from at least 3,000 subjects and efficacy test results at least on par with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the FDA said. To determine the appropriate level, the FDA is to commission Ministry of Health and Welfare hospitals to conduct studies comparing the effect of domestic vaccines with that of foreign vaccines, Wu said. The unblinding would only reveal if there were differences between the subjects who received a vaccine and those who received a placebo, Wu said. The results must still be sent to the FDA before it can begin EUA procedures, she added.
June 10, 2021 15:56 UTC