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Premier: Vaccines, rapid tests, antivirals three key tools against COVID-19

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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. At this time, the premier said, the most important strategy for harm reduction is to delay the peak in cases as long as possible. This strategy will enable us to preserve sufficient capacity for medical treatment of patients with moderate or severe symptoms, while striking a balance between disease prevention, economic growth and normal living.

In order to maintain our medical capabilities and improve the triage of mild and severe cases, the home care protocol for mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients will be fully implemented by the end of April, the premier said. In addition, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced this week that local governments should carry out "key contact tracing" (tracing only those who had contact with a confirmed case in the two days before the positive test or onset of disease) as well as implement the shortened "3+4" plan (three days of isolation followed by four days of self-managed disease prevention) for key contacts.

Vaccines, rapid test kits and antiviral medicine are the three most important tools we have for supporting the nation's medical capabilities and getting us through the latest surge, the premier said. He instructed the MOHW to continue raising vaccination rates by promoting the shots among key groups and working with the Ministry of Education to make preparations for vaccinating students ages 6 to 11. The government has also amassed sufficient supplies of treatment medication. A name-based rationing system for at-home COVID-19 test kits was launched Thursday ahead of schedule to provide affordable rapid testing kits at nearly 5,000 contracted pharmacies and rural public health centers across the nation.

Additionally, the Ministry of Finance announced Wednesday that the deadline for filing income tax returns this year will be extended to June 30.

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