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Taiwan announces one new death and 286 new local cases

Taiwan has announced one new death and 286 new local cases of Covid-19 today.

The death was a woman in her 70s who worked in Wanhua – the centre of Taipei’s outbreak – and she died at home, the minister for health and welfare said. Her family have since been hospitalised.

Of the new cases, 157 were in New Taipei City, and 87 in Taipei. The virus has spread to multiple counties and cities. 63 cases have not been sourced, while 84 are connected to travel history to Wanhua. There are also clusters at some Taiwan hospitals.

Taiwan is currently battling its worst ever outbreak, having kept the virus at bay until now with one of the world’s best pandemic responses.

Authorities are now rushing to contain the spread, which began among airline crews last month, and to update their knowledge of the new strains and science around transmission.

The whole island is currently under alert level 3 of a four-tier system, and the government says it will not rise to 4 until there is 14 consecutive days of 10 cases or more, with 50% unsourced.

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said more rapid testing stations were being set up at new hotspots, and the positivity rates at those already established in Wanhua were dropping, to below 5%.

The minister has also urged journalists to take more care. Recent days have seen reporters out in hotspot zones interviewing people, or at press conferences wearing PPE but handling multiple microphones and not social distancing.

Helen Davidson

You can just distance from each other at the press conference, this is a pretty alarming scene to put on TV

May 20, 2021

Taiwan authorities are largely relying on community compliance rather than lockdowns. Schools are closed, as are public venues, and sport, entertainment and recreation venues. Private gatherings are capped at five indoors or 10 outdoors. But companies have only been urged to establish working from home, and cross-county travel remains allowed although discouraged.

William Yang

Chen is reminding citizens again to not leave home and go around the city. He urges them to stay home and watch TV or read. He also called on citizens from cutting down gatherings but he tells them to bear with it for a while.

May 20, 2021




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