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Serious COVID-19 cases up 30% as Taiwan enters 4th Omicron wave: CDC

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Serious COVID-19 cases up 30% as Taiwan enters 4th Omicron wave: CDC

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) The number of serious COVID-19 infections in Taiwan increased by about 30 percent last week, in the latest sign the country is entering a fourth wave of cases fueled by lineages of the Omicron variant, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday.

Taiwan reported a daily average of 204 moderate to severe COVID-19 cases from May 17-23, representing an increase of around 32 percent over the previous week's daily average of 154, the CDC reported at a press conference.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 fatalities averaged around 18 per day from May 14-20, up slightly from 15 per day in the previous seven-day period, the CDC said.

Of those who died of COVID-19 complications between May 14 and 20, 92 percent had a history of chronic illness, 67 percent had not received three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 94 percent were aged 60 or older, CDC data showed.

CDC Deputy Director-General Tseng Shu-huai (曾淑慧) said the rising case numbers showed that Taiwan was entering its fourth wave of infections from Omicron subvariants, which is expected to peak sometime between mid and late June.

Given the heightened risk, the CDC is urging parents to monitor their children for potentially serious symptoms of the disease, such as high fever, lethargy, or respiratory difficulties.

From May 24, local governments across Taiwan will also be offering NT$500 (US$16.26) vouchers for hygiene products for seniors aged 65 and above who receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot, the CDC said.

The CDC also confirmed Tuesday that from May 31, masks will no longer be required in ambulances or long-term care facilities, though for the time being, they will still be mandatory in medical facilities, such as hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.

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