On April 25, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported that the severity of COVID-19 decreased, the domestic coronavirus situation continued to be stable, and infections remained at a low point. Additionally, the international community has moved towards downgrading COVID-19 response to a lower emergency level. In consideration of these developments, the CECC announced that, effective May 1, COVID-19 would be reclassified as a Category 4 notifiable communicable disease. In addition to the reclassification of the disease, the Executive Yuan has approved the dissolution of the CECC on the same day, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare will organize regular cross-agency epidemic prevention liaison meetings to ensure the continued operation of COVID-19 preparation and response work.
The CECC provided the key points of these adjustments as well as subsequent epidemic prevention efforts below after COVID-19 is downgraded on May 1 as follows:
A. The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control will continue to deploy multiple mechanisms to monitor the COVID-19 situation at home and abroad as well as the trends in variants and provide relevant information to the public in weekly press conferences.
B. The stockpiling COVID-19 vaccines and implementation of government-funded COVID-19 vaccination programs for all ages will continued to be carried out. Relevant units will review look at the latest scientific evidence and international vaccine recommendations and share such information with ACIP experts to discuss subsequent vaccination plans.
C. Government-funded antiviral drugs and herbal formula NRICM101 will remain available to infected individuals who are eligible for these medications. The Integrated Outpatient and Inpatient Care Program for Post COVID-19 Rehabilitation Program will continue to be implemented. COVID-19 designated wards will end. Restrictions regarding visitation as well as companions of patients will remain in place and be included in routine management. Healthcare facilities and care institutions will continue to implement necessary infection control measures to protect vulnerable groups. The current protocol that confirmed cases with complications (moderate-to-severe cases) who have met the current case definition of COVID-19 need to undergo a health assessment by a doctor and be hospitalized for isolation and treatment will remain in place. Expenses related to their medical care received during their isolation in the hospital will be covered by the government (including foreign nationals without an NHI card). Mild cases still need to practice self-health management.
D. To prepare for rapid developments in the COVID-19 situation, designated wards and government quarantine facilities will be opened again (mainly military bases) if circumstances require to ensure accommodation capacity and coordinate medical resources in a timely manner. At present, there are sufficient reserves of medical masks, at-home rapid tests, antiviral drugs, and other medical supplies. If there is an imbalance between demand and supply, such as panic buying, in the free market, the name-based rationing system will be implemented again.