CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan reports zero new domestic cases, relaxes mask mandate

10/03/2021 03:49 PM
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Health Minister Chen Shih-chung hosts Sunday
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung hosts Sunday's COVID-19 press briefing. Photo courtesy of the CECC

Taipei, Oct. 3 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Sunday reported zero new domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases, adding that Taiwan's outdoor face mask mandate would be partially relaxed.

Sunday marked the fourth consecutive day of zero new domestic cases reported in Taiwan, and the second straight day with no deaths, according to CECC data.

Taiwan reported six new imported cases, however, involving two Taiwanese and four foreign nationals. All six had arrived in Taiwan recently and tested positive during quarantine, the CECC said.

As for the mandatory wearing of face masks, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that from Tuesday people would no longer need to wear masks in certain outdoor areas if they could stay socially distanced.

Individuals in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and animal husbandry sectors that work in open spaces, such as fields and fish ponds, as well as people visiting forests and beaches, will not be required to wear masks if social distancing can be maintained.

They would still have to carry a mask with them, however, as they still need to wear masks if there is a sudden surge in crowds, Chen said.

Face masks became a requirement for those riding on public transport in April 2020. A comprehensive outdoor mask mandate was introduced after Taiwan's COVID-19 alert level was raised to Level 3 in mid-May 2021, amid a spike in locally transmitted cases.

The alert level was lowered to Level 2 on July 27, and several exceptions to face mask requirements have been announced since, such as when having a meal, as well as when driving alone or with family members in a car.

To date, Taiwan has confirmed a total of 16,250 COVID-19 cases, of which 14,417 are domestic infections reported since May 15, when the country first recorded more than 100 cases in a single day.

Since Aug. 15, however, the daily number of domestic cases has fallen to mostly single digits, totaling 114, according to CECC data.

With no new deaths reported Sunday for the second consecutive day, the number of confirmed COVID-19 fatalities in the country remained at 843, with all but 12 recorded since May 15, CECC data showed.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)

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Recent cases

Oct. 2: Taiwan reports 10 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Oct. 1: Taiwan reports 11 new COVID-19 cases, one death

Sept. 30: Taiwan reports seven new COVID-19 cases, zero deaths

Sept. 29: Taiwan reports 11 new COVID-19 cases, zero deaths

Sept. 28: Taiwan reports 7 new COVID-19 cases, new round of vaccination to to start Oct. 6

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