TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced 22,707 local COVID cases on Thursday (Aug. 4), a 4.2% decrease from the previous day.
CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), also confirmed 252 imported cases, bringing the country's total case count to 4,675,128. The 56 deaths reported brought the country's total COVID death toll to 9,082.
The local cases include 10,469 males, 12,188 females, and 50 cases still under investigation, ranging in age from under 5 to their 90s. The following map displays the latest COVID case counts in every major county and city in Taiwan reported on Aug. 4.
The 56 deaths announced on Thursday include 32 males and 24 females ranging in age from their 40s to their 90s. All of these individuals were classified as severe cases, 51 had a history of chronic disease, and 42 had not received their third dose of a COVID vaccine. Their dates of diagnosis ranged from May 18 to Aug. 1 and the dates of death were from May 20 to Aug. 1.
The following map displays the total number of COVID deaths reported in each of Taiwan's major counties and cities as of Aug. 4.
The 252 imported cases include 147 males and 105 females ranging in age from under 5 to their 70s. Between June 29 to Aug. 3, 22 arrived from the U.S., nine from Vietnam, four from Japan, three from South Korea, two each from Hong Kong Egypt, Thailand, and the Philippines, and one each from Canada, Cambodia, the U.K., Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands, and China. The countries of origin of 197 other cases are still being investigated.
COVID case statistics
Since the pandemic began, Taiwan has carried out 15,005,123 COVID tests, with 10,321,763 coming back negative. Of the 4,675,128 confirmed cases, 20,980 were imported, 4,654,094 were local, 36 came from the Navy's "Goodwill Fleet," three from a cargo pilot cluster, one is unresolved, and 14 are under investigation.
Up until now, 9,082 individuals have succumbed to the disease.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A mobile app providing information on locations for free potable water access has played a role in reducing Taiwan’s plastic waste from used PET bottles.
The “Water Refill Map” (My Hong-Te) application was launched in March 2020 with the collaboration between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and CircuPlus, a startup community dedicated to promoting the circular economy through ICT applications.
The app offering information on 8,300 free drinking water locations has been downloaded 210,000 times, the EPA said at a Wednesday (Aug. 3) press event. About 458,000 PET bottles have been saved, equivalent to the cut of 40 tons of carbon emissions, wrote the Environmental Information Center.
The initiative was inspired by a long-lost tradition when households would leave teapots full of water on the road for weary travelers who crave a glass of water, said CircuPlus founder Huang Wei-cheng (黃暐程).
To promote the use of the app, the press event was held at the visitor information center of New Taipei’s Mount Guanyin. The mountain boasts many drinking water sites, which are routinely replenished thanks to a group of mountaineering enthusiasts who volunteer to carry water uphill.
Huang believes people together can drive a positive change by supporting campaigns like this for the country’s net-zero vision by 2050. According to him, eliminating the use of 1% of bottled water a year, or 10 million units, amounts to emissions absorbed by 2.3 Daan Forest Parks, the 26-hectare park dubbed “the lung of Taipei.”
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the news of U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan spreads, a bakery in central Taiwan has promised to give away one egg yolk crisp pastry for every hour Pelosi stays in Taiwan, as a way to express the store’s support for her visit.
Pelosi is leading a Congressional delegation to the Indo-Pacific region. The delegation visited Singapore on Monday and at press time was in Malaysia. Foreign media have reported that she could arrive in Taiwan on Tuesday night (Aug. 2) and stay overnight.
A bakery in Huatan Township, Changhua County has a banner hanging above its storefront, saying, “To welcome U.S. House Speaker Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, customers who come to the store to buy a box of six yolk pastries will get one pastry free if Pelosi stays one hour during her visit, get two pastries free if she stays two hours, and so on.”
If customers come to buy one box of yolk pastries on Tuesday, they can come on Wednesday with receipts to claim the free pastries they are entitled to.
The owner of the bakery, surnamed Chiang (江), told media that China has been suppressing Taiwan for a long time, which has made Taiwanese unhappy. Exchanges between Taiwan and the U.S. have nothing to do with China, Chiang said, adding that the bakery has decided to take action to support Pelosi’s Taiwan visit.
The longer Pelosi stays in Taiwan, the more pastries the bakery will hand out, Chiang said.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As part of her trip to Taiwan, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday (Aug. 3) met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who presented her with a special award.
At a meeting held in the Office of the President that was broadcast live at 10:30 a.m., Tsai presented Pelosi with the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon. Tsai said the award represented gratitude to Pelosi and to express Taiwan's wish for more cooperation.
During a speech delivered after the award, Tsai described Pelosi as "truly one of Taiwan's most devoted friends" and noted the other members of her delegation were also key members of the House of Representatives and have promoted Taiwan-U.S. relations. Tsai said that she is "truly grateful" for their visit to "showcase the Congress's staunch support for Taiwan."
Tsai pointed out that Pelosi has deep and long-standing ties with Taiwan, having first visited the country in 1999, when she expressed concern in the aftermath of the Jiji Earthquake. Tsai extended "heartfelt gratitude" to Pelosi for over two decades of "unwavering support for Taiwan's international participation."
The president noted that the Russo-Ukrainian war has refocused world attention on the Taiwan Strait and that military aggression against Taiwan would have security implications for the entire Indo-Pacific region. She then laid out Taiwan's three key principles in facing uncertainties.
First, in the face of increased military threats, Tsai said "Taiwan will not back down" and will firmly uphold the country's sovereignty and continue to "hold the line of defense for democracy."
Second, Taiwan will do "whatever it takes" to bolster defensive capabilities, the country is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the strait, and "we will make Taiwan a key stabilizing force for regional security, ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific as well as the stable development of global trade and supply chains."
Third, Tsai said that Taiwan is a "reliable and trustworthy partner" of the U.S. and she vowed to continue to collaborate with the U.S. Congress and White House to boost cooperation in areas such as "Indo-Pacific Security, economic development, talent cultivation, and supply chains, so as to further elevate Taiwan-U.S. relations."
Pelosi said that it was a great honor to receive the award and that she was proud of a "woman president in one of the freest societies in the world." She said she received the award with "immense admiration for your leadership and great personal humility."
The house speaker said that she not only received the award on behalf of herself but the other delegation members. She said that she looked forward to displaying the award in the Speaker's Office and quipped she could possibly wear it there.
Pelosi pointed out that 43 years ago the U.S. established the Taiwan Relations Act, which she described as a "bedrock promise to always stand with Taiwan." She said this foundation has built a "thriving partnership grounded in our shared values of self-government and self-determination focused on our mutual security interests in the region and across the world committed to the economic ties that power prosperity for all of our people."
She said the delegation came to make it "unequivocally clear" that the U.S. will not abandon its commitment to Taiwan. She then pointed out that each member of the delegation is an important member of key committees, including Gregory Meeks, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Mark Takano, chair of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs; Suzan DelBene, vice chair of the House Ways and Means Committee; Raja Krishnamoorthi, member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; and Andy Kim, member of the House Armed Services Committee and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Pelosi said the story of Taiwan is an "inspiration to all freedom-loving people" and a "flourishing democracy" that had been formed through the "crucible of challenge." She described Taiwan's democracy as one of the freest in the world "proudly to be led by a woman president."
Taiwan is an "island of resilience in the world," said Pelosi. She said the Taiwanese have demonstrated that with "hope, courage, and determination it is possible to build a peaceful and prosperous future."
She said the message her delegation is bringing is that "now more than ever, America's solidarity with Taiwan is crucial." Pelosi said three pillars of the trip are security, economy, and democratic governance and that the U.S. has cooperation in all three areas with Taiwan.
Pelosi recognized and congratulated Taiwan for its management of the COVID pandemic. She asserted that Taiwan is a "model to the world" in terms of cooperation of the people and the success of its epidemic prevention policies.
She closed by arguing the world now faces a choice between democracy and autocracy. Pelosi vowed that U.S. determination to preserve democracy in Taiwan and around the world is "iron clad" and she expressed gratitude to the people of Taiwan for accomplishing this mission.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China’s General Administration of Customs on Wednesday (Aug. 3) announced an indefinite ban on frozen white hairtail and Japanese horse mackerel from Taiwan after it claimed traces of COVID-19 were detected on shipments back in June.
Chinese customs decided to suspend imports of the two fish products, in addition to Taiwanese citrus fruits. It added that it will notify relevant enterprises of the ban.
The move comes as Nancy Pelosi is currently visiting Taiwan, becoming the first U.S. House speaker to travel to the nation since Newt Gingrich in 1997.
On June 23, China said it had found coronavirus on the packaging of horse mackerel supplied by Taiwan’s Tong Ho Food Industries Co., leading to authorities rejecting products from the company for one week until June 29.
Earlier in June, the Chinese customs administration suspended imports of Taiwan's groupers after it claimed banned chemicals had been detected. The move severely impacted local fish farmers and forced Taiwan to seek other markets, including the U.S. and Japan, inspiring the term “Democracy fish.”
China also banned Taiwanese pineapples last year, sparking a “pineapple war.”
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — With the chance of a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looming, China Customs on Monday (Aug 1) expanded its trade blacklist to another 3,000 food products and over 100 food manufacturers from Taiwan.
Pelosi is rumored to arrive at 10:20 pm Tuesday (Aug. 2) and the military aircraft carrying the delegation will land at Taipei Songshan Airport. Local media outlets mostly viewed the move as a retaliatory move by Beijing as tension deepens.
The Taiwanese food manufacturers on the banned list are Taisun Enterprise, AGV Products Corp., Wei Chuan Foods Corp., Tung Shaing Foods Co., Wei Lih Food Industrial Co., King's Cook Frozen Food Co., Kuo Yuan Ye, Kuang Chuan Dairy Co., Vigor Kobo, Chi Mei Frozen Food Co., Cheng Hsiang Food Product Corp., Grape King, Taiwan Yes Deep Ocean Water Co., Mayushan Food Co., Lian Hwa Foods Corp., and food giant I-Mei Foods Co.
There are reportedly another 3,000 food products banned from entering the Chinese market as well, mainly under the categories of aquaculture, teas, and honey. Taiwan's agricultural officials said the impact on producers of the three categories is limited as the exports under those three categories were small in 2021.
Reporters citing people familiar with the matter, reported that Beijing is considering axing other Taiwanese agricultural and fishery products and has not ruled out expanding the list to industrial product imports if cross-Strait relations continue to worsen.
The source claimed the decision was made according to the Order 248 of Customs Law of the People's Republic of China. Overseas manufacturers are not allowed to export food products if they fail to renew their registration at customs after Order 248 became effective March 12, 2021.
Taiwan's agriculture and economic affairs ministries were mulling solutions in response to the new trade barrier on Tuesday morning. Agricultural officials told reporters it will assist manufacturers to process the paperwork as stipulated by Order 248.
Taiwan's food processing industry is composed of more than 7,000 manufacturers and their production accounts for approximately 4.77% of the country's GDP in 2020, according to USDA data.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has reportedly ramped up its military preparedness as cross-strait tensions mount over a potential visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Taiwan’s armed forces will enter a higher state of preparedness against the threat by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) between 8 a.m. Tuesday (Aug. 2) and 12 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 4), according to reporters, citing reliable sources.
The heightened alert does not amount to the country being put on a war footing, the sources emphasized.
The report comes as Pelosi’s possible trip to Taiwan has riled Beijing, which has responded with increasing threats. The White House on Monday warned about prolonged provocations from Beijing, including firing missiles in the Taiwan Strait.
China’s Maritime Safety Administration has announced live-fire drills will be conducted on Monday and Tuesday in the Bohai Sea and waters in the South China Sea. Over the past weekend, it has already carried out five military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, South China Sea and East China Sea, including live-fire exercises off the waters of Fujian Province, believed to be in protest over Pelosi’s plans to travel to Taiwan.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A man was arrested for firing a gun into the air in Taipei City’s Xinyi District on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 31).
No one was harmed in the incident, though the streets were reportedly crowded at the time. Bystanders called police and the individual was arrested an hour later in an alley after fleeing the scene, near World Trade Center Hall 1.
TVBS has video of the incident (see link), showing a man dressed in yellow and not wearing a mask. He walks along the road, lifts up a bag, points the gun in the air and fires.
After being arrested, he initially denied firing a gun, then said he had been intimidated. Police found a BB gun on him and later confirmed he was surnamed Hsu (許) and was 23 years old.
TVBS reported him as telling police: "I'm really bad today. Inform your colleagues that I was threatened this morning."
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Sunday (July 31) announced 21,069 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 20,824 were local and 245 were imported, as well as 34 deaths.
The local cases included 9,645 males and 11,172 females between under five and 100 years of age. The genders of seven local cases are still under investigation.
Among the local cases, 88 were moderate and severe cases.
Among the 34 reported deaths, 19 were male and 15 were female. They ranged in age between 20 and 100, and all of them were severe COVID-19 cases. Thirty-three had a history of chronic illness and 16 had not taken three doses of COVID-19 vaccines. They were confirmed to have contracted the disease between June 23 and July 27 and died between July 12 and Thursday (July 28).
The imported cases included 147 males and 98 females. They ranged in age from under five to 90 and arrived between July 4 and Saturday (July 30). Four arrived from Singapore, three each from India and the U.S., two each from Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Australia, and Egypt, and one each from Vietnam and Indonesia, while the origins of the other imported cases are still under investigation.
Taiwan has so far recorded 4,588,185 cases of COVID-19, including 20,054 imported, while 8,927 people have succumbed to the disease.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Rainbow Creative Co. Ltd, which operates Taichung’s Rainbow Village, has been accused of defacing the attraction’s famous murals on Saturday (July 30) in an act of vengeance.
Reporters reported the Taichung Cultural Affairs Bureau discovered that the murals in Rainbow Village were sabotaged and covered up with blue, red, and purple paint. The bureau immediately notified the police and began to attempt to salvage the art; Director Chen Jia-jun (陳佳君) alleged that Rainbow Creative painted over the murals as it moved out ahead of restorations set to begin on Monday (Aug. 1).
Rainbow Village was created by 99-year-old “Rainbow Grandpa” Huang Yung-fu (黃永阜), who took up painting on the village’s walls in 2008. Its creation later saved the historic military village from demolition when students and faculty from a Taichung university discovered the art and campaigned to preserve it.
Rainbow Village has since been selected as one of the top “instagrammable” spots in Taiwan by British lifestyle website Culture Trip and included in Lonely Planet’s “Secret Marvels of the World” guidebook. Huang and his story were also the subjects of a BBC feature story.
Chen told reporters the government had notified Rainbow Creative about its plan to restore and reinforce the village’s buildings as their walls have begun to crack after standing for 50 years. As the construction was expected to take nearly six months, it asked the company to move out by Saturday, which also marked the end of the company’s contract to operate and sell creative products in the village.
Chen added that though the rights to the village’s intellectual property are being reviewed in court, the art should never have been sabotaged. She said the government will definitely sue for damages.
In response to the news of his creation’s destruction, Huang wrote he is very sad and hurt that his life’s work has been sabotaged. He called Wei Pi-ren (魏丕仁), the owner of Rainbow Creative, “a bad guy, a huge villain.”
Reporters reported that by Sunday (July 31), Wei, his son, and 12 staff members were released from police custody after questioning. Wei, who allegedly accused the Taichung City Government of disregarding his employees’ livelihood and said the defacement was in protest, was subjected to restricted residence while others were released without bail.
The case has been transferred to the Taichung District Prosecutors Office for further investigation.
Meanwhile, Rainbow Creative took to Facebook to share a lengthy statement accusing the government of “administrative violence” and “oppression with conspiracies,” claiming the Taichung Cultural Affairs Bureau forced it to move out with only a five-day notice. However, commenters quickly pointed out that not only did the statement provide no excuse for the sabotage, it also made clear that the company had been adding its own drawings in the village and using Huang’s fame to attract tourists and make a profit.
Earlier this year, Huang and his wife accused Wei of making false promises to give them a share of 15% in merchandise profit that Rainbow Creative earns through operating Rainbow Village, in addition to NT$30,000 (US$1,000) a month to cover their living costs. They alleged that Wei later refused to pay them their share, lying about not making money despite earning as much as NT$3 million in annual income.
Moreover, Huang’s wife told Mirror Media that instead of the NT$30,000 that was promised, Wei only paid the couple NT$20,000 a month, saying that NT$10,000 was deducted as rent. Huang’s wife was quoted as saying, “My husband contractually adopted Rainbow Village from the Taichung City Government. Since he is a symbol of the village, the government agreed to let him live there for free; why would there be rent involved after signing a deal with Wei Pi-ren?”
Reporters reported that in a statement, Huang wrote, “Most of the new drawings in Rainbow Village are not done by me … (The company) claims to the public that it received my guidance and teaching, asks me to pretend to lead its staff as they draw, then takes photos to share to Facebook and mislead the public into thinking I drew them myself.”
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