Taipei, March 31 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday recommended that people in Taiwan stay at least one meter apart outdoors and 1.5 meters apart indoors to help contain the COVID-19 outbreak that has spread across the world.
People are advised to wear a surgical mask if they are unable to maintain a safe distance, in particular when using modes of public transportation such as buses or subways, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.
The CECC was also to hold a meeting later Tuesday to come up with more concrete guidelines on social distancing, and the results should be released later this week, according to Chen.
He stressed, however, that the guidelines are only recommendations, and people who fail to keep safe distances from one another will not be punished for the time being.
The CECC will closely watch how well people follow social distancing guidelines for a period of time and will consider imposing punishments should "severe violations" be reported in the future, he said.
Social distancing has been implemented by governments around the world to curb COVID-19 as the number of infections continues to rise.
Last week, the CECC recommended the cancellation of mass gatherings of more than 100 people indoors and 500 people outdoors to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Taiwan.
Taiwan recorded 16 new infections on Tuesday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 322 with five deaths since the coronavirus emerged in China at the end of last year, according to CECC statistics.
A total of 263 of those cases, mostly involving people who contracted the disease overseas, have emerged since March 15, when Taiwan only had 59 confirmed cases.
Source: Focus Taiwan
Taipei, March 30 (CNA) Taiwan will resume exports of infrared forehead thermometers in April, ending a one-month ban after an increase in production capacity, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Monday.
The ministry suspended exports earlier this month to ensure a steady domestic supply amid the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The ban, which was introduced on March 4 and ends on Tuesday, prohibited the export of infrared forehead thermometers without a permit from the government.
As domestic manufacturers have secured adequate supplies of raw materials, forehead thermometer manufacture and daily production capacity is growing and able to meet domestic demand, so it was decided not to extend the ban, the ministry said.
Although the ban on face mask exports that started in January after Taiwan reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case will remain in place until late April, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced Monday that from April 9 people will be allowed to send 30 face masks each time to overseas relatives within the second degree.
First degree relatives include an individual's parents, offspring, and siblings, while second-degree relatives include an individual's grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and half-siblings.
Source: Focus Taiwan
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — To prevent transmission clusters of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) in Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has introduced a set of social distancing guidelines for people to follow.
At Tuesday's (March 31) daily press conference on the country's latest COVID-19 cases, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) encouraged all individuals to follow the recommendations and maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors. He said that the authorities will finalize the guidelines before announcing them on Wednesday (April 1).
Chen pointed out that people should sit or queue 1m apart from others and avoid dining with friends or coworkers. For areas that are impossible to implement social distancing, such as trains or Metro Rapid Transit (MRT) stations, people must wear masks, he added.
The health minister noted that the government is hoping to treat the guidelines as advice rather than as rules during the initial stages. He urged everyone to comply with the new policy, but he explained that individuals will not be fined unless they intentionally challenge the guidelines, reported the Liberty Times.
With the upcoming Tomb Sweeping holidays, Chen admitted that there will be a higher risk for coronavirus transmission. However, he said that all public service areas have been instructed to maintain a clean environment and provide hand sanitizers as well as cleaning stations for people to wash their hands, reported CNA.
Source: Taiwan News
Fashion designers get doctor's approval to mass produce reusable protective gear for COVID-19 frontliners
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 30) — Fashion designers who are customizing protective suits for COVID-19 frontline workers have gotten a doctor's approval to push through with their initiative and create more for those in need.
In a Facebook post on Sunday evening, designer Mich Dulce shared that the first suit that they created for direct and critical exposure to COVID-19 patients has recently been approved by Infectious Diseases Specialist and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jesus Julio Ancheta of The Medical City Sta. Rosa Laguna.
"Thank you Lord!!! Napasigaw kami sa saya!!!" Dulce's post read.
Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo, who has been coordinating with the team for the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) and facilitating the approval, also made the announcement in her Facebook account.
Read more: CNN Philippines
Black swan events, such as economic recessions and pandemics, change the trajectory of governments, economies and businesses — altering the course of history. The Black Death in the 1300s broke the long-ingrained feudal system in Europe and replaced it with the more modern employment contract. A mere three centuries later, a deep economic recession — thanks to the 100-year war between England and France — kick-started a major innovation drive that radically improved agricultural productivity.
Fast forward to more recent times, the SARS pandemic of 2002-2004 catalyzed the meteoric growth of a then-small ecommerce company called Ali Baba and helped establish it at the forefront of retail in Asia. This growth was fueled by underlying anxiety around traveling and human contact, similar to what we see today with Covid-19. The financial crises of 2008 also produced its own disruptive side effects. Airbnb and Uber shot up in popularity across the west as the subprime crises meant lower savings and income for the masses, forcing people to share assets in the form of spare rooms and car rides in order to cover for the deficit. Doubling down on this trend, videogame business models rapidly changed as well, with 2011 seeing the rise of the free-to-play business model, thanks to Nexon in Asia and King in the west.
Read more: Entrepreneur.com
The country’s largest conglomerate on Monday (March 30) said it will tap its global network of suppliers to procure personal protective equipment that it will donate to frontliners in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement, San Miguel Corp. said it has allocated P500 million for this purpose, and urged local PPE manufacturers to ramp up their production, but was ready to tap overseas suppliers for this undertaking.
“It’s very crucial that we get more PPE — protective masks, gloves, surgical gowns, among others — out there as fast as we can,” San Miguel president Ramon Ang said. “We are hoping to fill the gap and continue supporting our government in whatever way we can.”
“Our health care workers and government responders are risking their own lives to save ours but they are running out of equipment to protect themselves,” Ang said.
Read more: Philippine Daily Inquirer
Most business establishments have been ordered to temporarily close while Luzon is on enhanced quarantine, but banks in the area will remain operational.
From 12:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, the entirety of Luzon was placed in enhanced community quarantine, restricting travel within the region in efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Below is a list of bank schedules while the quarantine is in place.
Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
Select BPI and BPI Family Savings Bank branches will remain open with shortened banking hours, and operations on skeleton staffing.
Read more: GMA News Online
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 30)-- The Philippines is seeking donations of additional medical equipment— including ventilators and respirators— amid the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in the country, the Health Department said.
"When it comes to equipment, basically po ang binibigay sa atin at ang tanging hingi rin naman kung sakali'y tayong nakakapag-request, ay mga ventilators," Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said in a Laging Handa media briefing on Monday.
[Translation: When it comes to equipment, basically what are given to us and what we're requesting for are ventilators.]
"Gusto natin na dumami pa ang ating ventilators and respirators, sa iba't ibang parte ng ating bansa to prepare for the eventuality kung kailanganin natin," she added.
[Translation: We want to have more ventilators and respirators in all parts of the country to prepare for the eventuality that we would need them.]
Read more: CNN Philippines
In January, when the world started taking notice of COVID-19, a new coronavirus disease that was rapidly spreading from the Chinese city of Wuhan, researchers at John Hopkins University predicted that Taiwan would be one of the hardest-hit countries.
Taiwan sits just 130 kilometers from China; 404,000 of its 23 million citizens were working in China in 2019, and more than 2.7 million Chinese nationals traveled to Taiwan that same year. A massive outbreak in the country seemed all but inevitable.
Yet despite the odds, Taiwan had recorded only 67 cases of the disease as of Monday, with one patient dying. That's significantly lower compared to its East Asian neighbors. China, where the disease was first detected, has 81,020 cases and 3,217 deaths to date. South Korea has seen 8,162 people infected and 75 dead, while Japan has reported 839 cases and 22 deaths.
As COVID-19 continues to spread at an unprecedented pace in countries like the United States, Italy and Iran, public health scholars have pointed to Taiwan as a society that has responded quickly to the crisis and has effectively protected its citizens.
Here's how Taiwan has been able to keep COVID-19 at bay:
Read more: Focus Taiwan
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