Health officials in Taipei-Taiwan announced on Monday (June 13) that the island had detected the first cases of the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

According to the Central Epidemic Command Center, all five patients infected with the new subspecies were Taiwanese arriving from abroad and were positive on arrival.

The two subvariants have begun to spread rapidly in South Africa, Europe, and the United States in recent months.

Taiwan has been in the midst of the worst Covid-19 outbreak since the pandemic began in January 2020, with domestic cases ranging from just over 200 on April 6 to 95,000 on May 27. It is increasing rapidly to near.

However, the number of cases has begun to decline slightly, from 88,247 on June 1st to 45,081 on Monday.

Since most cases have been mild or asymptomatic so far, health officials have shifted their focus to coexistence with the virus since April, gradually relaxing restrictions and encouraging residents to take booster shots. increase.

The latest policy change came into effect on Wednesday, with foreign Taiwanese returning to the island having only three days of quarantine and another four days, as opposed to the original one-week quarantine and another week of surveillance. Perform self-monitoring.

Grace Chao, a 60-year-old housewife in the San Francisco Bay Area, said, “I was hoping this day would come. I could meet my older mother three years ago because strict quarantine rules made it difficult to travel. I couldn’t do it. ” Her husband.

Prior to the pandemic, the couple visited their family in Taipei at least once a year.

32-year-old Hwang Wen-jae is also preparing to book a return flight to meet his family.

“I voted back in the 2020 presidential election just before the pandemic began,” said a marketing specialist in Austin, Texas. “I didn’t expect it to take two and a half years to see my parents again.”

“The previous quarantine period was so long that it didn’t make sense to come back just to limit freedom.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Taiwan has recorded more than 2.93 million confirmed cases and 4,280 deaths. About 82% of the population has been vaccinated twice and 68% have been boosted.

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