Taiwan has been exporting COVID-19 cases to other countries in recent months, and there has been a great deal of debate on whether incoming travelers entering Taiwan should be tested upon arrival. Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung reiterated that the false positive rate for rapid screening is 35 percent, and said only by keeping current procedures in place can the transmission of COVID-19 be contained in Taiwan. As for when a domestically manufactured vaccine will become available, Chen said if everything goes smoothly, the first batch of vaccines could make their appearance at the end of the year with medical personnel and disease prevention workers getting first priority.
Taiwan has exported COVID-19 cases to multiple countries in recent months, and many people are calling for screening at domestic airports upon arrival. On the 17th, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung shut down the idea, saying the epidemic can only be contained by maintaining the ministry's current protocol.
I'd rest assured if the results come back negative. However, a negative result doesn't always mean a person is not infected, because 35 percent of people don't get tested at the right time and therefore results aren't accurate.
The global COVID-19 count is at 20 million and steadily climbing. Many experts are predicting a spike in the fall and winter and masks are therefore in short supply once again. Chen says there is no shortage of masks and everyone should stop panicking.
We have put 240 million (masks) on ice. I don't mean ice literally. What I mean is, there is that number of masks currently not being used and they are a backup supply.
Asked about a vaccine timetable, Chen said clinical trials are underway domestically and the first vaccines could debut on the market at the end of the year under emergency-use authorization.
We could see some domestically manufactured vaccines making an appearance around the end of December under the so-called emergency-use authorization. For widespread availability, the second quarter (next year) would be a more reasonable forecast.
Chen said he expects imported vaccines to hit the market next April but not everyone will be able to get vaccinated as medical personnel, disease prevention workers, and frequent travelers will get priority. He said the ministry's target vaccination rate is 60 percent. He also said Taiwanese society will only be safe if 80 percent of people wear masks, and fines could be forthcoming if so many people continue refusing to wear masks in public.