Taiwan has imposed island-wide Covid-19 restrictions, closing non-essential businesses and heavily limiting gatherings. The island has faced a massive spike in cases recently, with its tally doubling in just a week.
The health authorities of the island, which is claimed by China as an integral part of its country, announced they were raising the Covid-19 alert to Level 3 on Wednesday, as it reported 275 new cases. Some 267 of the cases have been classified as domestic transmissions.
The Level 3 alert will be in place until at least May 28, Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center said when it announced the decision.
The island nation has a four-tier alert system and had never gone past Level 2 before last week, when the Level 3 curbs were imposed in the capital city of Taipei. The higher alert level means non-essential businesses are closed, and citizens must wear masks at all times when outside their homes.
Gatherings are also heavily restricted under the alert level, with people not allowed to meet in groups larger than 10 outdoors or five indoors.
Taiwan has fared extremely well in the pandemic, registering only around 1,000 cases in over a year. The situation, however, changed in recent weeks, with the authorities reporting over 100 new domestically transmitted cases for five days straight. Despite the rapid surge in coronavirus cases, the island’s healthcare system has not been overwhelmed, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung has said, urging the public not to panic.
“At present medical capacity is sufficient, so please don’t worry,” Chen stated, insisting that a full lockdown was not needed for now.
The new cases spiked on Monday, with 333 domestically transmitted and two more imported cases registered. The island’s all-time tally increased twofold over the past week, currently standing at the 2,260 mark. Some 14 people have succumbed to the disease across the island.