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Taiwan facing largest COVID outbreak so far

Taiwan is facing its worst COVID-19 outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The government reported more than 11,000 new cases on Thursday.

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Chen Shih-chung, the island’s health minister, told reporters at a press briefing held by the Central Epidemic Command Center that they had detected 11,353 new cases, along with two deaths. 

Most of Taiwan’s 858 COVID-19 deaths came over the summer of last year. 

Taiwan has maintained strict border controls and a required two-week quarantine for visitors upon arrival. Authorities announced in April that they would no longer maintain a “zero-COVID” policy. 

People wear face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, April 27, 2022. 

People wear face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, April 27, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Instead, people are asked to quarantine at home if they test positive, unless they are exhibiting moderate-to-severe symptoms.

Additionally, mask-wearing is universal both indoors and outdoors, and face coverings are legally mandated on public transportation and in shops and theaters. 

Five million people have not been fully vaccinated against the virus

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While the vaccination rate among people over 75 is 72.5%, only 59.1% in the same age group received a booster.

Elsewhere in the region, case numbers continue to rise in the Chinese capital city of Beijing

Beijing’s Education Bureau instructed all schools to end classes from Friday in an effort to prevent wider transmission. The bureau said it hadn’t determined when they would resume.

People wear face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus in Taipei, Taiwan, Thursday, April 28, 2022. Taiwan, which had been living mostly free of COVID-19, is now facing its worst outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic with over 11,000 new cases reported Thursday. 

People wear face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus in Taipei, Taiwan, Thursday, April 28, 2022. Taiwan, which had been living mostly free of COVID-19, is now facing its worst outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic with over 11,000 new cases reported Thursday. 
(AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

The city of 21 million has already ordered three rounds of mass testing, with the third set for Friday. 

It was not clear whether the schools would be able to offer virtual classes or allow students taking crucial exams to return. 

Beijing officials reported 50 new cases on Thursday – bringing its total in this coronavirus wave to approximately150. 

The nation’s health authority said there were 11,285 new cases across mainland China, with the vast majority still in Shanghai

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Julia Musto is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find her on Twitter at @JuliaElenaMusto.

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