Following a Thursday Cabinet meeting briefing by the Ministry of Health and Welfare on the COVID-19 epidemic, Premier Su Tseng-chang said that while the spread of the virus locally has gradually come under control, it was still necessary to remain vigilant given the situation abroad. He said that adjustments should be undertaken cautiously, and that the public's needs in their livelihoods and daily lives must also be considered as precautions are relaxed.
On the immunization front, the government on Wednesday finalized a contract for the purchase of 36 million doses of the Moderna vaccine. Premier Su called on people to get the shots as soon as possible, as supplies of various vaccines are purchased and delivered, in order to raise overall levels of resistance.
Over the past month, daily new local cases have been kept in the double digits, and this week have not exceeded 20. South of the Zhuoshui River (located in central Taiwan) no counties or cities have recorded new cases in the past 15 days. The premier said that this difficult achievement over the span of two short months comes as the result of a nationwide collective effort.
New cases coming from abroad have seen an uptick recently, the premier noted. Of Wednesday's nine imported cases, six were suspected illegal entries. He instructed all ministries and agencies to step up border security and strengthen investigations in order to prevent similar incidents from puncturing holes in Taiwan's coronavirus defenses.
As for vaccinations, Premier Su thanked the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., YongLin Foundation of Hon Hai Technology Group, and Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation for each donating 5 million BioNTech doses to the government, for a total of 15 million doses. The government on Wednesday also concluded a procurement contract for 36 million Moderna doses—including second-generation vaccine doses—for the fourth quarter of 2021 and all of 2022 and 2023. Additionally, a Taiwan-developed vaccine was granted emergency use authorization on Monday, and the premier thanked and recognized the teams involved.
Since the nationwide vaccine registration and appointment system came online, more than 9.8 million people have registered their willingness and made vaccination appointments. The nation's vaccination rate, which had climbed to 23.5 percent as of Wednesday, is expected to hit the end-July target of 25 percent ahead of time. The new goal is to push the rate up to 30 percent by the end of the month, the premier said.