Taiwan extends level 3 alert to June 28 as clusters spread to factories

The Covid outbreak continues to be serious as new clusters broke out in nursing homes and factory workers at several companies in Miaoli County. The current Level 3 alert, which originally was to go on until June 14, was extended on Monday, June 7, to June 28.

Local cases reached as high as 585 on Thursday, June 3, with 17 deaths as Taiwanese embark on vaccine “tours” to go to the US to get vaccinated. However, local cases decreased to as low as 211 on June 7 before increasing to 274 on Wednesday, June 9. Deaths remained high with 22 on June 8 and 25 on June 9, resulting in Taiwan’s Covid deaths exceeding 300 to reach 333 on June 9. Both the premier and the health minister apologized in the legislative assembly for the deaths when pressed by an opposition legislator.

Taiwan was deservedly lauded for its Covid success but this also led to Taiwan being unprepared for this outbreak in 2021, as reported by the Guardian.

While the Covid outbreak is quite bad, Taiwan also faces serious long-term problems with power and water, all of which have come about and been exacerbated by governmental complacency, which I write about in Foreign Policy.

While Taiwan was lauded for its Covid handling during 2020 and up until April, there were several flaws such as in airport visitors and quarantine measures that raise the point that perhaps it was only a matter of time before this outbreak occurred, as written by this returning foreign resident in Quillette.

Japan donated 1.24 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines on Friday, June 4, while the US promised to donate 750,000 doses after three US senators visited Taiwan on Sunday, June 6.

The urgent need for vaccines has turned into a huge political issue in Taiwan resulting in significant criticism of the government and pressure to buy from China, as reported by Nikkei Asia.

The outbreak is leading to a number of departures, including American/Taiwanese-American tech workers who had originally come to Taiwan to “escape” Covid who are now doing the reverse move.

China is becoming more confident in its ability to attack and defeat Taiwan, argues this expert in Foreign Affairs. While invasion might not be imminent, the expert lays out how China might attempt to take Taiwan in launching missile strikes and a blockade, while also attacking American forces that might attempt to come to Taiwan’s aid.

Exports soared by over 38 percent to reach a record in May, driven by strong global demand for electronics products.

Taiwan’s offshore wind sector has some potential but this is not likely to be realized if numerous significant issues such as excessive red tape and inefficient regulations and processes are not resolved, argues this industry expert in Commonwealth Magazine.

Weekly water restrictions on Taichung, Miaoli County and parts of Changhua County have been lifted after heavy rains over the past week.

Indigenous people are looking to preserve their languages through teaching programs, documentation and developing formal dictionaries, reports the Guardian.