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Premier rallies officials, prioritizes Lunar New Year preparations against disease

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Following a briefing at Thursday's weekly Cabinet meeting on the spread of COVID-19 and Taiwan's response, Premier Su Tseng-chang said that the government is proceeding with extreme prudence and caution. He noted that the scope of the coronavirus epidemic now exceeds that of SARS nearly 20 years ago, and expressed thanks for the public's unity and cooperation among government agencies that have enabled the nation to stand firm in the face of such a severe pandemic and earn international accolades. The premier directed that all ministries and agencies continue their collaboration to overcome the future's many inevitable challenges, broadcast the COVID-fighting message over every channel available, and achieve peak effectiveness in combating the disease.

With the rapid approach of the Lunar New Year and an anticipated increase in returning citizens and foreign visitors, preparations beforehand will be necessary, said Premier Su. Advance arrangements for quarantine hotels, quarantine taxi service, airlines and related matters, as well as plans for task division and needed cooperation, must take priority. The premier also thanked law enforcement for their wholehearted and exhaustive efforts in such roles as guarding the nation's borders, tracking cases, and locating people.

The approach toward battling COVID-19 should be the same as that for African swine fever (ASF), Premier Su said. Taiwan has kept ASF at bay for more than two years, and yet there are still those with outstanding violation fines. The premier asked authorities to keep a close eye on the situation, enforce the rules vigorously, and continue working hard to keep ASF out of Taiwan.

Most citizens are aware that 100 percent of travelers' carry-on luggage will be subject to border inspections upon entry to Taiwan. As a result, customs officials are now finding fewer illegal meat products, though a small number of violations still occur. The Customs Administration, the Ministry of the Interior and other agencies should spread the message and prevent more violations by stepping up foreign-language public awareness campaigns targeting migrant workers and foreign nationals, the premier said. With agencies working together to protect the nation, the people of Taiwan can consume pork products with a greater peace of mind.

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