Taiwan sees vaccination rush as local Covid cases rise to single-day high of 16


Taiwan reported 16 new local Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest daily rise since the pandemic began, Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

Three of the cases are linked to an arcade in northeastern Yilan County, while 10 others are contacts of a case confirmed Tuesday involving a Taiwanese man in his 60s, CNA reported, citing Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung.

The recent spike in cases — while a drop in the bucket compared to much of the world — has caused some alarm in Taiwan, with many residents rushing to get vaccinated, according to CNA. 

Taiwan has been hailed for its effective and early response to the virus, becoming one of the first places to record no new cases and going months at a time without infections, which has allowed life on the island to proceed much as normal, albeit with limited overseas travel. 

Vaccination rush: Chen said 11,018 people were vaccinated Tuesday, the highest daily number so far. The figure pushed the total number of residents who have received a vaccine to 112,543, with around 180,000 doses currently remaining. 

Taiwan has a population of more than 23 million. After weeks of concern over low vaccination uptake, Chen said he was now worried stocks may run out, CNA reported. 

The elderly, medical personnel and other emergency or high-risk workers, as well as diplomats, police, care workers and some other professions are currently eligible for vaccination under the government program.

However, anyone not covered who is traveling abroad and wishes to get inoculated can do so by paying 600 New Taiwan dollars ($21) at certain clinics — around three times the price of government-provided shots. 

Wednesday could prove to be another record vaccination day, with CNA reporting paid slots for hospitals in metropolitan areas were already full as of midday, and some through to near the end of the month. 

Pilot quarantine: On Monday, Chen said Taiwan will quarantine all active pilots working for Taiwanese carrier China Airlines for 14 days amid a recent outbreak of Covid-19 among flight crews and hotel workers. 

Taiwan has reported a total 1,231 Covid-19 cases and 12 related deaths, according to the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control.

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