CORONAVIRUS/Mask requirement on Taipei metro, buses to be conditionally eased

06/05/2020 02:43 PM
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CNA photo June 3, 2020
CNA photo June 3, 2020

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) People using Taipei mass rapid transit (Taipei metro) and public bus services will no longer be required to wear face masks all the time when they are at stations, in metro cars or buses from June 7, the city's deputy mayor announced Friday.

The mask requirement on public transport in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, will be eased on the same day the central government is scheduled to relax COVID-19 control measures on trains and domestic flights, with no new domestically transmitted coronavirus cases reported for nearly two months, Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) said.

"As long as social distance protocols are followed," passengers using the Taipei metro and public buses in the city can remove their masks while at stations, in metro cars or buses if there is enough distance between passengers, but will still have to wear masks when entering a station or boarding a bus, Huang noted.

Metro and bus drivers, as well as personnel working at transport stations, will still be required to have their temperature checked and wear masks when on duty, according to the Taipei City Public Transportation Office.

Wearing masks remains obligatory for passengers who have a fever or cold symptoms, the office reiterated.

The easing of mask control measures will be simultaneously implemented in New Taipei, Keelung and Taoyuan to form a "zone defense" against the coronavirus pandemic, Chung Ming-shih (鍾鳴時), head of New Taipei City Transportation Department, announced the same day.

Taipei Metro staff members monitor temperatures of passengers at Taipei Main Station. / CNA photo May 7, 2020
Taipei Metro staff members monitor temperatures of passengers at Taipei Main Station. / CNA photo May 7, 2020

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has said it plans to relax its COVID-19 control measures on trains and domestic flights from June 7, as the spread of the disease has eased in Taiwan.

Passengers taking Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) and High Speed Rail (HSR) trains will still have their temperature checked at the ticket barrier and wear a mask, but can remove the mask after that, if certain conditions are met, the MOTC said.

Those conditions include observing proper social distancing rules, the ministry said.

June 7 has been chosen as the date for the relaxed provisions to be introduced because if there are no new domestically transmitted COVID-19 infections by then, it will be 56 days without any new cases, which represents four 14-day incubation periods for the disease.

When the restrictions are eased, passengers will be allowed to eat on trains and domestic flights, once social distancing is observed or neighboring passengers are wearing masks, the MOTC said.

(By Chen Yi-hsuan and Elizabeth Hsu)

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