TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese Minister of Economic Affairs (MOEA) Shen Jong-Chin (沈榮津) said Wednesday (April 29) that the government is planning to invest NT$50 million (US$167 million) in developing 100 ventilator prototypes for patients in critical condition.
During a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan, Shen said the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shined a light on the scarcity of indigenously produced ventilators in the island country. Although Taiwan has set up several production lines for surgical masks, it has yet to be able to produce its own emergency ventilators.
Shen said the ventilators Taiwan currently possesses are mainly for treating patients with sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. He pointed out that most of the ventilators used on Taiwan's intensive care patients, including those infected with COVID-19, have been purchased from overseas, which is why the government needs its own.
The economic minister explained that the government has enough invasive ventilators right now to deal with the coronavirus outbreak and that the development of prototypes is only a precautionary measure suggested by medical experts. He said the MOEA has acquired all necessary documents to launch the project and that local ventilator companies have agreed to build 100 prototypes and test them before mass production, reported CNA.
Source: Taiwan News
Taipei, April 29 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has introduced a special section on its website titled "The Taiwan Model for Combating COVID-19," an English page that tells foreign readers about Taiwan's so-far successful approach to containing the global outbreak.
"There are many moving parts to the #TaiwanModel for combating #COVID19 & realizing #HealthForAll," the ministry tweeted on its official Twitter account Tuesday evening, shortly after the COVID-19 page was launched.
"Learn more about #Taiwan's #AllHandsOnDeck approach, as well as international media coverage & multimedia & social media highlights. Yes! #TaiwanCanHelp," the MOFA tweet further said.
The new page is composed of sections titled "International Media Coverage," "The Taiwan Model" and "Multimedia and Social Media," with content to be updated regularly.
The International Media Coverage section is made up of foreign media reports on Taiwan's achievements in disease prevention, Taiwan's contributions to the international community and selected news reports relating to China and the World Health Organization (WHO).
In "The Taiwan Model" section, among the crucial measures discussed are the island's national health insurance system, its whole-of-government approach, advanced preparations and early responses, the application of big data and AI, and an open and transparent approach to information management.
MOFA also listed Taiwan's contribution to the international community and its humanitarian assistance to combat COVID-19 in the web page's "Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping!" sub-section.
In the Multimedia and Social Media section, visitors can find links to videoconferences and interviews by Taiwan foreign minister Joseph Wu's, MOFA social media posts, as well as videos on how Taiwan was able to increase its surgical face mask production.
Taiwan has performed relatively well in preventing the spread of COVID-19, despite its geographical proximity to China, which was the original epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), Taiwan on Wednesday reported no new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus for the fourth consecutive day and seventh time this month, with the total number of confirmed cases remaining at 429.
Source: Focus Taiwan
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 29) — The Philippines will be doubling its daily coronavirus testing capacity, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday, after conglomerate San Miguel Corporation donated machines and kits to help in the government’s bid for wider testing.
Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) Director Celia Carlos says that with the donation Philippine labs will be able to carry out 9,500 tests per day from just 4,500 before.
In a ceremony at its headquarters in Mandaluyong, San Miguel turned over to the DOH five sets of coronavirus testing machines – each consisting of two reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rtPCR) machines and one automated ribonucleic acid (RNA) extraction machine.
Combined, the machines are capable of 5,000 to 10,000 COVID-19 tests per day. The DOH takes a conservative stance for now, putting the number at the low end of the range.
Philippine labs will see that doubling in testing capacity by next week, when all machines are up, health officials said.
San Miguel has also donated 20,000 testing kits.
Read more: CNN Philippines
The Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) order in the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon (Region 3), Calabarzon (Region 4A) and other high-risk areas is further extended until May 15, Malacañang announced last Friday, April 24.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced the quarantine extensions and other government efforts to combat the COVID-19 epidemic, as recommended by the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
HIGH-RISK AREAS UNDER EXTENDED ECQ
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque enumerated the areas covered by the extended ECQ until May 15: Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Albay and Catanduanes, while the status of Benguet, Pangasinan, Tarlac and Zambales may change by April 30.
Meanwhile, the situation in Antique, Aklan, Iloilo, Capiz, Cebu, Cebu City, Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro (formerly Compostela Valley) and Davao City will be re-checked. These areas were considered high-risk based on the rising number of cases and the shortfall in medical facilities.
Because of the ECQ order in these areas, public transportation will remain suspended and business establishments ordered closed, except those giving essential services like supermarkets, pharmacies and banks. Classes in all levels are still suspended while residents are ordered to remain indoors.
GENERAL COMMUNITY QUARANTINE, THE NEW NORMAL
Starting May 1, a less stringent form of lockdown — General Community Quarantine (GCQ) — will be in place in areas with low to moderate risk. “All provinces not under the ECQ will be included in the ‘new normal’ called the GCQ,” Roque said.
Moderate-risk provinces include Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Sultan Kudarat and Lanao del Sur.
Meanwhile, the following provinces are considered low-risk areas: Apayao, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, Ilocos Sur, Batanes, Quirino, Aurora, Palawan, Romblon, Camarines Norte, Masbate, Sorsogon, Guimaras, Bohol, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Southern Leyte, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Davao Occidental, Sarangani, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Basilan and Sulu.
SUBJECT FOR EVALUATION
Meanwhile, there are provinces classified as moderate-risk areas that will be subject to evaluation. They can either be placed on ECQ or GCQ depending on the recommendations of the IATF. These are Abra, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Marinduque, Camarines Sur, Samar, Western Samar, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Maguindanao.
In areas placed under GCQ, the “new normal” will be as follows:
– Restricted movement but work is allowed in some sectors
– The general population may go out to acquire basic necessities, except those under 20 and over 60 years old must remain indoors
– Non-leisure stores in malls and shopping centers may partially open
– Restaurants may open for takeout and delivery only
– Airports and seaports may operate to allow unhampered movement of goods
– Full operation recommended for essential industries like agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food manufacturing and all supply chains, supermarkets, hospitals, logistics, media, and utilities like water, power, internet and telecoms
– 50 – 100 percent opening is recommended for electronics, exports, e-commerce and delivery, repair and maintenance services, housing and office services
– 50 percent onsite and 50 percent remote work is recommended for financial services, BPO, non-leisure wholesale trade and non-leisure service
– Priority and essential government construction projects may continue
– Higher education institutions may continue online classes to finish the academic year and issue credentials to students. School and universities should consider opening classes in September
Source: Business World
Taipei, April 28 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Tuesday there is no need for mass testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Taiwan, as the rate of infection so far has been quite low.
Over the past 100 days, some 4.8 million people sought medical attention or reported to health authorities that they had coronavirus-like symptoms, and 60,956 of them were tested, said Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) at a press conference on the 100th day since the center was established.
Of the 60,956 people tested, only 429 were confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, Chen said, adding that authorities could not identify the source of infection in only 10 cases.
With an infection rate of around 0.7 percent among those tested and 0.009 percent among those who reported COVID-like symptoms, there is no need to move toward mass testing, as public health experts have been advocating, Chen said.
The situation in Taiwan is different than in countries like South Korea and Italy, where large numbers of infections have been recorded and lockdowns and mass testing became necessary, he said, in an apparent response to a suggestion made two weeks ago by public health experts that testing could be expanded using a rapid diagnostic test.
Read more: Focus Taiwan
Taipei, April 28 (CNA) Taiwan could see its surgical face mask production top 19 million per day by mid-May after 22 additional production lines went into operation, Economic Affairs Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said Tuesday.
Speaking during a radio interview, he said that the 19 million daily output is only a conservative estimate, expressing optimism that the 22 additional production lines could exceed that number once they are running smoothly.
Taiwan currently produces 17 million masks a day on 92 lines, according to Shen.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Taiwan was only capable of producing 1.8 million masks per day, but through the government's initiative to install additional machines needed to boost production, daily output has surpassed the 10 million mark after mid-March.
The units, which were purchased by the government to cope with rising demand for surgical masks in Taiwan, were assembled by a team of about 100 technicians recruited from different companies across the country.
The first batch of 60 units were assembled in less than a month, even though the process would normally have taken half a year to complete, while the remaining 32 were assembled in two weeks.
On Tuesday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that some 120,000 people in Taiwan have so far donated their surgical face masks to those in need.
The donations came one day after the CECC made an announcement urging the public to donate their quota of surgical face masks to medical professionals in other countries that are in short supply, noting that the government platforms for the online purchase of surgical face masks now includes a function that allows Taiwanese to do so.
"This is aimed at showing Taiwan's spirit of humanitarian assistance," Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who also heads the CECC, said Monday
Source: Focus Taiwan
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-Lab) launched free workshops on home-made infrared thermometers and ultraviolet light boxes in April to help the public get through the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 has caused a shortage of daily necessities and epidemic prevention materials. Therefore, C-Lab held two events on two weekends: a workshop on DIY infrared thermometers on Apr. 12 and one on UV light boxes on Sunday (Apr. 26).
There was great interest in both topics, and spots ran out quickly after the events were announced, the organization said.
A platform for developing art and technology worldwide through mixed media, C-Lab stated that the workshops were run by professionals from various disciplines such as the biomedical sciences, architecture, and engineering, who taught members of the public how to make the tools on their own to help protect them amid the pandemic, said C-Lab.
In addition, C-Lab published the teaching videos online along with the code for the infrared thermometer. For more information, please visit the website or Facebook page.
Source: Taiwan News
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 23) — President Rodrigo Duterte is extending the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and "all other high risk" areas until May 15.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, in a taped briefing that aired on Friday, said the following provinces are considered high-risk and will be placed under extended enhanced community quarantine: Pangasinan, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecijia, Pampanga, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Albay, and Catanduanes.
The initial enhanced community quarantine is due to end on April 30.
Roque added the inclusion of Benguet, Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Zambales under enhanced lockdown are up for reevaluation by April 30. Meanwhile, the situation in Antique, Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Cebu, Cebu City, Davao del Norte, Davao City, and Davao de Oro will be rechecked.
He said all areas that were not mentioned will be placed under "general community quarantine."
Based on 2018 national data, Metro Manila contributes the largest share of the country’s economy at 36 percent, followed by the Calabarzon region with 17 percent, and Central Luzon just north of Manila with a 10 percent share of the national output of goods and services.
Duterte’s decision on the fate of the six-week long quarantine in the country's largest island, home to 57 million people and large industries, came after a series of meetings with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Read more: CNN Philippines
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) —Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that two policies regarding air travel will be extended indefinitely in order to further prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The first of the polices restricts direct flights across the Taiwan Strait; the second bans flight transfers in Taiwan's airports. The policies were originally set to expire on April 29 and April 30, respectively, according to CNA.
As for when the two policies will be lifted, the CECC said that it would depend on the situation of the pandemic.
Taipei, April 23 (CNA) A research team at Academia Sinica has developed a key reagent for a pioneering rapid screening test for the COVID-19 coronavirus disease and the technology has been transferred to seven companies, one or two of which will be chosen for possible mass production, James Liao (廖俊智), president of Taiwan's most prestigious research institution, said Thursday.
The team led by Yang An-suei (楊安綏), a research fellow at the institution's Genomics Research Center, has yielded the unprecedented results at unimaginable speed, Liao said at a legislative hearing, adding that it took only one month for the team to create a product prototype, compared with the three-six months normally required for such development.
He was responding to a question about the progress after Academia Sinica announced last month that the research team had synthesized monoclonal antibodies that can identify the protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The reagent will be able to provide COVID-19 test results within just 15 minutes, according to Academia Sinica.
Read more: Focus Taiwan
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