Taipei, Taiwan – After successfully keeping COVID-19 away for 18 months, Taiwan is now facing a major wave of outbreaks following the outbreak in mid-May.
Of the island’s population of 23 million, the death toll rose to more than 11,000 on Tuesday and the death toll rose to 308 out of just 1,200.
Last year, the self-governing island was widely praised for its effective response to COVID-19, which included tight border control and communication trajectories. Now, when they first encounter a life of confinement, many in Taiwan are wondering what is wrong.
Six months ago, Al aze azira interviewed Chen Chien-jin, former Vice President of Taiwan նախարար Minister of Health, who gave his name during SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome] about 20 years ago it was about why Taiwan was so successful in the fight against COVID-19,
This week we spoke again with an epidemiologist around Zoom about an unexpected change in the island’s fortunes.
Chen says the outbreak is partly the result of “preventative fatigue” as people lose their defenses.
Hospitals that were supposed to have COVID-19 և isolation wards also began to use them for other patients, համակարգը the health care system was not prepared for the sudden wave of coronavirus cases found in the group of airline pilots. he said.
For Chen, the first two weeks of the outbreak were “catastrophic.”
The interview was edited for length and simplicity.
The COVID-19 situation in Taiwan suddenly became serious. What do you think happened?
As early as April, we started to have this British version of B117, which was imported from other countries և, as you know, B117 is a highly contagious virus. The second strong feature is that it causes very asymptotic, mild cases.
It started with China Airlines և Novotel employees, then moved to New Taipei City և Lions Clubs, then Y transferred to Yilan և finally reached Wanhua’s adult entertainment venues, the so-called ‘tea houses’.
On May 15, before our Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) issued a Level 3 (Semi-Blocked) alert, President Ai-ying Wen invited me to a meeting. (I said) thousands upon thousands of people will be infected this time.
How do you think the current epidemic procedures are going?
During the first week of May 15, we had 500 to 600 people infected every day, նախկին my ex-boss asked me if it was so good, I said I could not say if it was the peak. Fortunately, in the first seven days it is 500-600 cases, and in the second week – from 400 to 500, and then from 300 to 400. Now from 200 to 300.
This means that the epidemic curve has been leveled through Level 3 warning efforts.
So I think that’s a good sign, but (numbers are) also a bad sign. The disease has become endemic, which means that in Taiwan the virus is transmitted to the community, and now it is very, very difficult to eradicate the virus.
Last February I had some doubts,, unfortunately my suspicion was right that COVID-19 is mutating և it becomes like the flu.
The only way Taiwan can very well curb this second phase of the epidemic is to increase herd immunity through a nationwide immunization program, urging the CEC to try to get vaccines as soon as possible.
What do you think of Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 six months later?
I think there are two ways to do it scientifically to prevent an epidemic. The first is to interrupt the transmission of the virus. That’s what we did in 2020 և it’s very successful.
But there is prevention fatigue, people get tired of it, they weaken their awareness to some extent. So before November 2020, Taiwan played very well in the first half, but in the second half we had a shortage of vaccine (because).
I have to admit that the very first two weeks (of the recent outbreak) were really catastrophic. Too many people became infected, too many people went out for examinations, and community stations were not ready at all, not even hospitals.
Initially, we asked each hospital to have a designated ward or isolation room for COVID-19 patients, but since there were no COVID-19 cases, all hospitals thought they did not need one, so they filled many patients in hospitals. designated isolation rooms.
The situation is quite similar to any country rising to this wave of patients, but fortunately, I would say that two weeks later, community observation stations were set up, and then there were more and more isolation rooms.
If COVID-19 is more like the flu, what does it mean for Taiwan?
I would first like to share how we fought the flu back to the 2009 H1N1 epidemic.
We did three things. One is contact quarantine տն home quarantine of infected people. Infected people, when they had very severe symptoms, they were quickly tested and immediately received an antiviral, the so-called “Tamiflu”. They did not have to quarantine at all, as their viral burden fell and they recovered.
At that time, we developed Taiwan’s first home-made flu vaccine and then used an international, domestic one to vaccinate people. If COVID-19 becomes flu-like in the future, we need a very good, very sensitive, special rapid diagnostic test for people who are really infected with the so-called antiviral flu.
Taiwan is currently struggling to get enough vaccines. Why?
As you know, we have 20 million doses of the vaccine ordered. About five million from COVAX, five million from Moderna and 10 million from AstraZeneca. (Home-made vaccines) Medigen, like United Biomedical, is in Phase 2 clinical trials. If their safety and effectiveness are good, they can get an emergency use permit.
But as you know, even though we already have a purchase order with COVAX, delivery is somewhat delayed և somewhat inadequate. At least 25 1.25 million (AstraZeneca) donated to Japan ոնի 0.75 million Doses of Moderna from the United States“We hope that we can vaccinate three million people in June, and if it goes smoothly with the international efforts of international vaccines, we hope that six million vaccines will be available in July and six million in August.
By the end of August, I hope we can vaccinate at least 15 million people in Taiwan (at least) in one dose, at which point the epidemic could be much better. With some hope, և if so, we are going to return to a new normal life.
What will solve the current crisis?
The only thing we can do is get vaccinated. We try to make everyone resistant to it, more importantly, the immunization should be carried out as soon as possible, on a large scale. This is not just for Taiwan, but for the whole world.
In the age of the virus, there is a kind of competition with the virus. If the coronavirus is going to be constantly mutated like the flu virus, then one day, somehow, a new version will be found that the current vaccine cannot prevent in humans at all.
Do you think COVID-19 theory could be leaked in the lab?
According to a recent report, there is a fragment of the human genome in the COVID-19 virus, which is really strange. It appears to have been genetically modified or placed in a laboratory, which is why US President Biden has asked his experts to try it out.
Another reason for people to suspect is that when the WHO delegation went to Wuhan’s laboratory, they did not receive much information from their visit at all. If there really are human genes in a virus, then we need to understand how it can be integrated into a virus gene. This is very strong evidence that some (researchers) have performed laboratory experiments in some laboratories.