Success story Taiwan faces its worst outbreak in pandemic

At a night market in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, May 14, 2021, people wear face masks to protect themselves from the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo / Chiang Ying-ying)

The island of Taiwan, which has seen enviable achievements in containing COVID-19, rolled out new restrictions in its capital on Saturday as it battled the worst outbreak since the pandemic began.

Authorities raised the alert level for Taipei, the capital and surrounding areas of New Taipei City. The Level 3 alarm, which remains in effect for two weeks, requires people to wear a mask outdoors and limits indoor gatherings to five and outdoor gatherings to 10.

Health officials said 180 new locally distributed cases have been confirmed, the majority in Taipei and New Taipei. That’s more than the total of 164 cases previously confirmed for the entire pandemic period. The daily number of new cases rose steadily from single-digit numbers earlier this week to 29 before the three-digit jump was announced on Saturday.

“The epidemic is intensifying,” said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, noting that more and more cases are identified as authorities focus on hot zones.

Cinemas, museums, indoor swimming pools, and amusement parks were among the places closed under the Level 3 alarm, as were community colleges and senior activity centers.

Taiwan, a self-governing island of about 24 million people off China’s east coast, has largely kept the coronavirus in check. 1,475 cases were counted, mainly infected people who had traveled from abroad and 12 deaths. The total number of locally spread cases has more than tripled in the past week from under 100 last weekend to 344.

  • Success story Taiwan faces the worst pandemic outbreak

    At a night market in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, May 14, 2021, people wear face masks to protect themselves from the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo / Chiang Ying-ying)

  • Success story Taiwan faces the worst pandemic outbreak

    At a night market in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, May 14, 2021, people wear face masks to protect themselves from the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo / Chiang Ying-ying)

16 new cases are of concern in Taiwan, Tsai says, don’t panic

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