Premier Su Tseng-chang said Thursday that Taiwan has recently seen a noticeable increase in the number of imported COVID-19 cases, and the spread of the coronavirus in Europe and the U.S. is reaching new heights. Responding to the added challenge of fighting the disease during the autumn and winter months, the Central Emergency Command Center (CECC) Wednesday announced new prevention rules to begin December 1, calling for tougher measures at the border, in local communities, and with stronger testing at health care facilities.
The premier made his remarks at the weekly meeting of the Cabinet following a briefing by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) on the new measures. He stressed the need for full and active cooperation at all levels of government to strengthen Taiwan's front lines of defense.
With more than 220 days since the last confirmed indigenous case, Taiwan is acclaimed worldwide as a leader in the fight against COVID-19, Premier Su said. Nevertheless, the rise of the pandemic globally together with cooler weather mean the coming months will be well suited for the survival and spread of the virus. Taiwan thus faces a heightened risk of transmission domestically, especially given the recent prominent rise in the number of confirmed cases introduced from abroad. Premier Su said such conditions necessitate an enhanced approach at the border, stronger controls within communities and greater awareness and caution among the public.
The MOHW indicated that a number of requirements will take effect December 1 under the CECC's new rules. For travelers or transfer passengers coming to Taiwan, these include a negative result on a COVID-19 nucleic acid test taken within three days of boarding their flight to Taiwan. Domestically, people will see changes including mandatory masks at eight types of public venues: health care facilities; public transport; markets, retail outlets and showrooms; libraries and educational and training centers; public performance centers, museums and indoor sports venues; leisure and entertainment establishments, including cruise ships and ferries; funeral homes and enclosed columbaria, as well as temples, churches and other common areas of worship; and places of public business. Meanwhile, health care providers will be required to step up reporting, screening and testing efforts, among other measures.