Taiwan unveils $7.5 billion relief package as Covid-19 cases rise


Chemical troops under the Taiwan Defense Ministry disinfect public transport in Taipei, Taiwan on on May 25 following a dramatic surge of Covid-19 cases.
Chemical troops under the Taiwan Defense Ministry disinfect public transport in Taipei, Taiwan on on May 25 following a dramatic surge of Covid-19 cases. Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Taiwan plans to spend $7.55 billion on relief measures as it fights its worst Covid outbreak so far, the self-ruled island’s National Development Council said Thursday.

The funds will go to subsidies for workers like taxi drivers and tour guides, as well as partial salary compensation for companies affected by ongoing restrictions.

The proposal, which will be discussed in the legislature by the end of the month, is the fourth round of Covid relief that Taiwan has announced since last year, with the first three rounds collectively worth $15 billion.

Contact tracing troubles: On Tuesday, the island’s health minister said more than 300 people who tested positive for Covid have been unreachable.

Authorities have been unable to immediately contact 146 people in the capital, Taipei, and 164 in the surrounding New Taipei City, minister Chen Shih-chung told a news conference, voicing concerns this could increase the risk of transmission.

Some background: In 2020, Taiwan had one of the most successful Covid-19 responses in the world, and went more than 250 days without reporting any local infections. The democratic island has been praised internationally for its quick initial action and effective containment measures.

But cases began rising in early May, spiraling into Taiwan’s worst outbreak and prompting stringent new restrictions.

On Thursday, Taiwan reported 405 new cases, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center. It also reported 13 new Covid-related deaths — the highest single-day figure of the pandemic.



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