Story By: John Feng, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Asia Wire Report
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has shared a picture of a Coke Zero can as the island reported no new coronavirus cases for the third time this week.
The self-ruled island nation just 110 miles from mainland China has recorded 395 cases and just six deaths since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the confirmed patients are 340 imported cases and 55 resulting from local transmission, Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said in its daily press briefing today (17th April).
Ms Tsai, 63, expressed her gratitude to health workers in Taiwan with her Instagram post, which included an image of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.
Taipei’s landmark Grand Hotel also lit up selected rooms to display the words ‘ZERO’ and ‘SALUTE’ this week.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who also heads up the CECC, said 166 people have been allowed to leave isolation today following two weeks of quarantine.
Mr Chen, 66, said the zero new cases showed a “stable downward trend” in the epidemic in Taiwan, but warned members of the public not to be complacent.
“It is important that the public continues to maintain good hygiene practices and adheres to social distancing guidelines,” he said.
He added: “Also, avoid large gatherings.”
Schools and offices remain open on the island, though many businesses, especially in the catering sector, have had to apply for government grants due to lack of customers.
Mr Chen said starting 19th April pharmacies on the island would not be receiving mask deliveries on Sundays, allowing staff to rest at least once a week for the first time in over two months since emergency work rotas were put in place on 6th February.
Taiwan is now producing 15 million face masks a day, the second largest daily quantity in the world after China.
Taipei activated the CECC – founded in 2004 after the SARS epidemic – on 20th January following reports of a novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan in December.
Already by 1st January Taiwan was inspecting all incoming flights from Wuhan as part of 124 disease-prevention measures initiated by the Tsai administration.
This week, Taiwan’s national research institute Academia Sinica was reporting a lack of samples to study antibodies due to the island’s low infection numbers.
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