TAIPEI (The China Post) — A new COVID-19 variant dubbed “B.1.1.529” recently emerged which scientists have reported as having “an unusually high number of mutations” and is spreading rather quickly.
To this, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) announced at a press conference on Friday that starting Nov. 29, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Zimbabwe will be included on the list of key high-risk countries (重點高風險國家).
The CECC explained that anyone (including those with a connecting flight) who has recently visited those six countries within two weeks of arriving in Taiwan, will need to quarantine at a centralized facility for 14 days after arrival.
CECC Emergency Response Group Deputy Division Director Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) added that the B.1.1.529 has spread rapidly in South Africa and other places, and has replaced the Delta variant as the local mainstream virus.
Lo also pointed out that the characteristics of B.1.1.529 mutated virus strain is currently known to be related to the virus entering cells, which may make it even more infectious.
Further analysis on the increase of virus’ transmission power, the impact on vaccine protection, whether it will increase the proportion of severe cases, and more will be closely monitored by the CECC, Lo added.