The mayor indicated that the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control reported 240 domestic positive cases for the day. Furthermore, the virus has moved beyond Taipei and New Taipei to other municipalities, forcing a reconsideration of policies. From a medical perspective, he pointed out that the majority of confirmed cases exhibits light symptoms, with roughly 20% of the patients needing hospitalization. Approximately 4% show severe symptoms which require further care in the ICU or access to ventilators.
Therefore, with the future development of the spread unclear and only 20% of the confirmed cases requiring hospitalization, he believes that it is important to set up temporary abodes where those without severe symptoms can undergo observation. While patients with mild symptoms can be treated at these facilities directly, those who require hospitalization but recover after 10 days of treatment and deemed fit for discharge can relocate to quarantine hotels. In other words, not all positive cases have to be hospitalized, and medical resources should be optimized and allocated to those who need them the most.
To achieve this goal, the mayor issued the following executive orders:
- Large hospitals are to set up dedicated quarantine wards and should provide the name of the ward and number of beds available to the authority.
- Large hospitals which cannot establish dedicated quarantine wards must provide a certain percentage of staff members for deployments assigned by the Department of Health to support centralized quarantine stations or quarantine hotels.
- The city government will also establish a dedicated transport team with a fleet of 8 ambulances (each vehicle has a capacity for 1-3 people) and 2 buses from the Fire Department (with a capacity for 19 people each). The city government will also hire 10 buses from the private sector – each with a capacity for 21 passengers.
- Those who can work at home are encouraged to do so. Other options include alternate work offices.
- The city government will have control over vaccines allocated to Taipei City by the central government.
The mayor also shared some good news regarding rapid test results. Since testing began on May 14, the positive rate has diminished over the past 3 days – from 11% to 9.7% to 10% to 7.9% yesterday. The preliminary results up to the time of the press event showed a 4.7 positive rate. These figures, combined with the fact that fewer people are moving about, seem to indicate that the spread of the virus have lessened, bringing hopes that the situation may be control.
Ko once again called upon the public to implement the following actions to help in the fight against COVID-19:
- Stay home if possible
- Wear a mask whenever you leave home
- Wash your hands frequently
- Reduce face-to-face contact whenever possible