CORONAVIRUS/Worried by rise in COVID-19 cases, Taiwan bans large scale gatherings

05/11/2021 02:24 PM
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Premier Su Tseng-chang (front), accompanied by Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, urges public vigilance during a visit to the Central Epidemic Command Center. CNA photo May 11, 2021
Premier Su Tseng-chang (front), accompanied by Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, urges public vigilance during a visit to the Central Epidemic Command Center. CNA photo May 11, 2021

Taipei, May 11 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday announced a ban on large-scale gatherings as it tightened COVID-19 prevention measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus amid an increase in domestically transmitted cases in recent weeks.

Seven more domestic cases were reported on Tuesday, with the source of six of them unknown, leading to the tighter measures.

The CECC asked organizers to halt large-scale indoor and outdoor events — those with more than 100 and 500 people, respectively — until June 8.

Business venues are also being asked to start monitoring customer flows to maintain social distancing and avoid crowding. (Taiwan into community transmission stage of COVID-19: Health Minister)

A ban on eating and drinking on trains will also be imposed until June 8 to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19, including trains run by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) and Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp., as well as highway buses, ferries, and domestic flights.

The high speed rail will only offer reserved tickets and suspend the sale of non-reserved tickets, which allow travelers to stand if there are no seats available or to sit in unoccupied seats in non-reserved carriages.

The TRA will also suspend the sale of standing-only tickets. The suspensions of THRSC and TRA non-reserved tickets will begin on May 15.

Meanwhile, over the next four weeks, visits to hospitalized patients and long-term care facilities around Taiwan will not be allowed, with few exceptions.

One full-time caregiver per hospital patient will still be allowed, the CECC said.

The latest measures come after a group of infections arose involving the Novotel airport hotel in Taoyuan and one of Taiwan's main airlines, leading to 35 infections, with 21 of them confirmed at present to be domestically transmitted.

On Tuesday, another seven domestic cases were reported, with one of them traced to the Novotel/China Airlines group, and the other six from unknown sources.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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