Taipei, June 21 (CNA) All 4,000 Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corp. (TAPMC) employees, contractors and wholesalers will be vaccinated within three days, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je pledged Monday amid a cluster infection that has produced 45 cases so far.
TAPMC, which runs the largest wholesale market and packaging center for fruit and vegetables in Taiwan, reported its first COVID-19 case on May 14, according to the city government.
As of Monday, 29 people in TAPMC's First Fruits & Vegetables Wholesale Market and another 16 in the Second Fruits & Vegetables Wholesale Market had tested positive for the coronavirus disease.
To contain the outbreak, Ko said Monday that the city conducted rapid screenings of 451 people working at the TAPMC last week.
It also worked with authorities in neighboring New Taipei and Keelung to track down people who visited the two markets but do not live in Taipei. Of the first 19 confirmed cases, nine of them lived outside the capital city, according to Ko.
Ko said, however, that it has been difficult to track down all contacts as many of them are wholesalers who visited Taipei from central and southern Taiwan, and that the cluster infection has continued to grow.
To contain the infection over the long term, Ko said he talked with central health authorities and the Council of Agriculture and decided that all TAPMC workers and contractors, along with wholesalers who frequently visit TAPMC and its markets, should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
The city will set up fast screening stations at both TAPMC's First and Second Fruits & Vegetables Wholesale Markets on Monday afternoon and will vaccinate around 4,000 people within three days, the mayor said.
Those who test negative in the rapid screening tests will be vaccinated first.
New Taipei said it will set up two rapid screening stations at the Sanchong and Banqiao fruit and vegetables markets on Tuesday and conduct a second round of mass rapid screenings on 1,800 workers and people who frequently visit the markets as part of their jobs.