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COVID measures to be further eased starting Nov. 2

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At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a Ministry of Health and Welfare briefing on the COVID situation in Taiwan. Taiwan's outbreaks have stabilized, while the nation's first and second dose vaccination rates over the past six months have grown to over 70 and 30 percent, respectively. Starting November 2, the government will further relax disease prevention and control measures.

Pushing the nation's first dose vaccination rate to 70 percent and second dose rate to 30 percent in just six months was a hard-won achievement, the premier said. The goal now is to have 60 percent of the population receive their second jab by the end of the year.

The fruits of economic growth are to be shared with the people, as should the fruits of successful disease prevention measures, Premier Su continued. As such, the Executive Yuan has decided to further ease COVID prevention and control measures starting November 2. He expressed hope that the easing of restrictions will help workers in affected industries quickly resume their livelihoods while allowing the public to return to a normal way of life sooner. The relaxed measures will, for instance, allow people to sing at karaoke lounges without wearing face masks; eat and drink at movie theaters and on trains, the high-speed rail system and long-distance buses; and the number of participants at artistic and cultural performances, sports competitions and other large gatherings will no longer be limited.

The value of export orders received in September announced by the Ministry of Economic Affairs last week reached a record high of nearly US$63 billion, the 19th consecutive month of positive growth. The value of export orders received in the January-to-September period also grew 32 percent over the same period last year, and projected value for the entire year is expected to exceed US$600 billion for the first time ever. On Monday, the ministry also announced that in September, wholesale sector revenue set a new single-month high of NT$1.07 trillion (US$38.5 billion) and the retail sector also rebounded from the impact of the pandemic, gradually returning to positive growth. The decline in the food and beverage industry also gradually levelled off, and unemployment dropped for the third consecutive month as the labor market gradually improved. The National Development Council yesterday announced that Taiwan's Leading Indicator for September also continued its upward trend, with the overall economic and business outlook both indicating stable growth. Added momentum from Quintuple Stimulus Vouchers and Extra-bonus Vouchers, and the easing of disease-prevention measures after the pandemic subsides, will also jump-start domestic-demand industries and put them on the fast track to recovery.

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