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Taiwan continues to adapt its COVID-19 strategy

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Premier Su Tseng-chang on Thursday received a Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) briefing on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health measures. The government is adapting prudently to the pandemic situation, with the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) updating its principles for admission and treatment of confirmed cases to prioritize hospitalization for moderate and severe cases. In addition, the "0+7" plan (seven days of self-initiated epidemic prevention) was expanded Tuesday to cover family members living in the same residence as a confirmed case. The premier also asked the MOHW and local governments to continue strengthening public communication to increase vaccine coverage.

In order to preserve medical treatment capacity, the CECC has again adjusted triaging procedures for confirmed cases to prioritize moderate and severe cases for hospital admission, effective since Tuesday. Furthermore, to maintain overall public health capacity, starting Tuesday family members who have received three vaccine shots and are living in the same residence as a confirmed case are no longer required to undergo home isolation and should instead undergo seven-day self-initiated epidemic prevention.

Effective since Wednesday, individuals over 65 years old can be prescribed antiviral medication if they test positive with a COVID-19 rapid test, confirm that test result with medical personnel, and receive a physician's assessment that medication is needed. Because vaccines cannot be administered to children of preschool age and below, several major hospitals have also set up "green channels" that provide dedicated access to emergency medical care for children.

In terms of vaccination efforts, a fourth shot was made available starting Monday for people in high-risk groups such as individuals aged 65 years or older, residents of long-term care institutions, or people with weakened or compromised immune systems. The government has also procured Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses for children, 770,000 of which arrived Monday, and expects to begin immunizing the 5-11 age group Wednesday to enhance protection for children as swiftly as possible.

President Tsai recently instructed government agencies and state-owned enterprises to set up support centers, and encouraged private employers to take up responsibility for caring for their employees as well. The premier hopes this public-private effort will provide every COVID patient with the support and assistance they need.

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