Premier Su Tseng-chang on Thursday received a Ministry of Health and Welfare briefing on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic and a new model of disease prevention. The goal of Taiwan's COVID strategy at this current juncture is harm reduction, the premier said, specifically the pursuit of zero severe cases and the effective control of all mild cases. This "new Taiwan model" of COVID management balances normal life, active disease prevention and steady reopening, so that the nation's economy and the people's lives and livelihoods can be maintained.
To strengthen Taiwan's resilience against the pandemic, the premier tasked the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) with the conservation of medical treatment capabilities and the reduction of deaths and severe cases. If further developments in the pandemic arise, the CECC is also prepared to adjust prevention measures to ensure society continues to operate normally.
Over 2,000 domestic cases of COVID-19 have been recorded since the start of this year, the premier noted. However, only five were moderate to severe infections, with the remaining 99.7% being asymptomatic or mild. Taiwan's current goal is thus the elimination of severe cases, while achieving effective control of mild cases. The goal of this strategy is the mitigation of damage from COVID, not the pursuit of zero confirmed cases, nor a "coexistence with the virus" that allows it to wreak havoc. Rather, it follows the principles of living normally, actively preventing disease and steadily reopening in order to achieve an effective approach to pandemic management that secures the nation's economy and the people's lives and livelihoods.
Regarding conservation of medical treatment capabilities, we should continue separating mild cases from severe ones, Premier Su said. Severe cases and elderly patients should be treated at hospitals, while mild and asymptomatic cases should receive care at government quarantine facilities or enhanced quarantine hotels.
As for reduction of deaths and severe cases, Taiwan has prepared injectable antiviral medication and is also the first country in Asia to stock two types of oral antiviral medication, having procured 25,000 courses so far. Taiwan is also working hard to lift vaccination rates. Currently, 83.5% of the population have received the first dose, 78.5% have received the second and more than 50% have received the third. The premier asked the CECC along with central and local government agencies to continue rolling out incentives for vaccination. Elderly people at higher risk of contracting severe COVID, in particular, should be encouraged to receive their third jabs. These measures will provide stronger protection for the people of Taiwan, the premier said.