Taiwan extends anti-infection restrictions

Taiwan has extended coronavirus-related restrictions by more than half a month until the middle of June due to a spike in cases.

The total number of confirmed cases in Taiwan, not including arrivals from overseas, stood at less than 170 as of May 14. But more than 4,000 cases have been reported since May 15.

Authorities raised the alert level to the second highest on a four-tier scale for Taipei and New Taipei cities on May 15, and for the rest of Taiwan last Wednesday.

The level 3 measures include limiting indoor gatherings to four people, and outdoor gatherings to nine. In-person classes are suspended at all schools.

The measures were to end on May 28, but they have been extended until June 14.

Health minister Chen Shih-chung explained there are concerns about "hidden spreaders" in communities, which the authorities were not able to detect due to a time lag in getting test results.

Taiwan, with a population of 23.5 million, has received only about 700,000 doses of vaccines so far. But Chen said 10 million doses will be available by the end of August, including domestically-developed vaccines.