Taiwan’s market outbreak boosts COVID-19 infections

People wearing protective face masks shop at a market amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Taipei, Taiwan

Taiwan reported 98 new domestic COVID-19 infections on Friday, as the government raced to contain an outbreak at a Taipei food wholesale market through mass testing and quarantines.

Taiwan has been dealing with a cluster of community infections since mid-May, but numbers had begun stabilising in recent weeks and were still comparatively low despite the outbreak at the market.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told reporters the market has been closed for three days, and there were likely to be more infections confirmed as the results of tests came through.

Chen announced 57 new domestic cases, but said 41 cases at the market had yet to be included in the official tally. Taipei’s city government only confirmed those cases early Friday morning.

The market is in Taipei’s Wanhua district, a hot spot where many of the initial infections in May were first reported.

Most of Taiwan’s infections have been of the previously globally dominant Alpha variant.

A small outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant in southern Taiwan has so far been brought under control, with Chen describing that outbreak as “stable”.

Taiwan’s tally of infections stands at 14,911 since the pandemic began, including 676 deaths.

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