Taiwan reports 333 new local Covid-19 cases on May 17, highest ever

Taipei has reported the most number of cases at 158.

Matthias Ang | May 17, 2021, 05:41 PM

Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has reported 333 new domestic cases of Covid-19 cases, breaking the previous day's record of 206 infections, ETToday reported.

According to the CECC, the infections include 144 men and 189 women, from below the age of five to more than 90 years old.

Cases were reported across nine cities and counties, with Taipei reporting the most number of cases at 158.

Infection cluster found in Wanhua district

Focus Taiwan further reported that of the 333 cases, 155 are linked to an infectious cluster involving hostess teahouses in Wanhua District, within Taipei.

In addition, another 86 cases are people who have recently visited the district.

The total number of infections in Taiwan has passed the 2,000 mark, with more than 700 new cases reported since May 15.

Schools closed for two weeks amidst surge

The same day also saw Taiwan announce that schools will be closed for two weeks in Taipei and New Taipei, beginning on May 18, amidst the surge.

This includes junior and senior high schools, elementary schools, kindergartens, nurseries, and cram schools.

The administration for both cities added that classes can be continued online, while parents with children under 12 will be eligible for unpaid family leave.

Only 300,000 vaccine shots administered

Regarding vaccination, Reuters reported that thus far, only 300,000 shots, all using AstraZeneca, have been administered.

The island has been caught in the global shortage despite having placed orders for 20 million, including the vaccine from Moderna.

According to Taiwan's President, Tsai Ing-wen, more vaccines are due to arrive in June, although no further details have been disclosed.

Vaccines that have been developed domestically are also expected to be available by July.

The use of Chinese vaccines is not permitted under Taiwan's law.

A security official was quoted as saying that the government is looking into what it believes is "cognitive warfare" conducted by China to undermine public trust in their handling of the pandemic.

The official said:

"Messages criticizing the government are being circulated on social media. They are trying to highlight the efficacy of the Chinese vaccines and how the government is blindly pinning its hopes on vaccines from the United States and home-made vaccines, leaving the lives of citizens in the lurch."

Top image via Unsplash