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Taiwan’s coronavirus outbreak seems to be stabilising but the first cases of the Delta variant have been found in the community. Photo: DPA

Coronavirus: Taiwan reports first local cases of Delta variant

  • Health authorities say cluster of six infections found in the community
  • Island continues to try to recover from two-month outbreak, with 13 new deaths
Taiwan reported its first local cluster of the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant on Saturday, just as the island appears to be recovering from its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic.

Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said six cases of the Delta variant were detected among a cluster of cases in the southern county of Pingtung.

Chen said that two of the six cases were recent arrivals from Peru.

“The Delta mutant strain was previously detected in a total of five imported cases. This cluster outbreak is the first time the virus strain has entered the community and is actively being contained,” he said.

Pan Men-an, magistrate of Pingtung county, where the Delta cases were detected, said there was no plan for a community lockdown, though the authorities would encourage residents to avoid leaving their homes.


US sends 2.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan

US sends 2.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan
The announcement comes a day after the self-ruled island tightened border controls so that arrivals from countries with a high number of Delta coronavirus cases – including Britain and Peru – have to quarantine in government facilities, rather than at home.

Taiwan has been recovering from an outbreak that started nearly two months ago.

By late May, daily caseloads were constantly in the several hundreds, peaking at 723 on May 22. The death rate has also been higher than the world average, peaking at 37 in early June.

But both case numbers and the death toll have declined, with the island reporting 79 cases and 13 deaths on Saturday.

But there are concerns that this could change with the Delta variant breaking through into the community.

The Delta variant has been reported in 92 countries and is believed to be 60 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha variant first identified in Britain, which itself is about 50 per cent more infectious than the strain first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Delta also appears more resistant than other strains to vaccines, although fully vaccinated people continue to be well protected from serious illness and death.


All eyes on Taiwan’s home-grown vaccines as 2 local developers await emergency approval

All eyes on Taiwan’s home-grown vaccines as 2 local developers await emergency approval

The island has struggled to secure vaccine supplies but the United States delivered 2.5 million Moderna doses last weekend.

To prevent any jabs going to waste, the Central Epidemic Command Centre announced on Friday that “leftover Covid-19 vaccines” would be available on standby to anyone aged 18 or over who registered in advance.

Chen Tsung-yen, the centre’s deputy head, said that in the event of a no-show, a notification would be sent to someone on the standby list telling them of an available vaccine.

Taiwan is waiting for millions of doses it has ordered from abroad, as well as shots from domestic vaccine developers.

The island has signed deals to buy 10 million shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine and more than 4.7 million doses via the Covax Facility. Locally developed vaccines are also expected to be available in July.

Despite donations from the US and Japan, Taiwan is still well short of the shots it needs to vaccinate its 23.5 million population. To date, 8 per cent of the self-ruled island’s people have been inoculated.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: First local Delta variant cases hit Taiwan