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Photo: I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Taiwanese government on Saturday raised the coronavirus alert levels for two cities, Taipei and New Taipei City, after authorities reported a surge in new infections.

The state of play: People in the two cities will be required to wear masks outdoors, and indoor and outdoor gatherings will be limited to five and 10 people respectively, per the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control.

  • All entertainment venues — along with clubs, gyms, bars and hair salons — will be required to shut down. Restaurants must implement social distancing.
  • Schools will continue to offer instruction, but will be closed to the general public.
  • Measures are expected to remain in place between May 15 and May 28.

By the numbers: The measures were announced after the Taiwan Central Epidemic Command Center reported that 185 new virus cases were found on Saturday. This is "the largest single-day increase of community transmission since the pandemic began," the Washington Post writes.

  • The CECC says that Taiwan has a total of 1,475 confirmed cumulative cases and 12 deaths.

What they're saying: "The epidemic is gaining intensity," health officials said, according to the Post. "Only by doing this can infections be dealt with and controlled."

What's next: Health officials said a full lockdown could be imposed if more than 100 new cases are reported daily for two weeks.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 23, 2021 - Health

PM extends New Zealand lockdown, says elimination goal "absolutely" right

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reacts during a COVID-19 response update at Parliament on Saturday in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Robert Kitchin/Pool/Getty Images

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday that New Zealand's pandemic elimination strategy was working, as she announced an extension to the nationwide lockdown due to a growing COVID-19 Delta outbreak.

Why it matters: NZ locked down last Tuesday after detecting the first community case in nearly six months — marking the arrival of the Delta variant in the island nation. The cluster has grown to 107 cases, with 35 more people testing positive for the virus Monday.

Aug 23, 2021 - Health

U.K. launching COVID antibody surveillance program

University Hospital Monklands staff check the medical notes of a COVID-19 patient in February, Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The British government announced Sunday that it's launching a national surveillance program to measure antibodies in people who test positive for COVID-19.

Why it matters: The U.K. Health Security Agency said in a statement that its program would improve understanding of immunity and the protection provided by antibodies generated following coronavirus infection and vaccination.

Aug 22, 2021 - Health

Kentucky governor loses COVID emergency powers legal challenge

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear during an April press conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The Kentucky Supreme Court on Saturday ordered a lower court to dissolve an injunction that had prevented Republican-backed legislation from limiting the executive authority of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Beshear has imposed emergency health measures including an indoor mask mandate for K-12 schools, child care and pre-kindergartens, as cases surge across the state. The ruling paves the way for the Republican-led legislature to enact legislation curbing his emergency powers.