CORONAVIRUS/'COVID pass' plan by city mayors must protect personal freedom: Minister

01/15/2022 11:04 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Saturday that two local governments, which are proposing to adopt the use of a digital COVID-19 certificate for entry to certain venues, must ensure that people's personal freedoms are safeguarded.

Under the proposal put forth earlier in the day by mayors Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) of Taipei and New Taipei, respectively, the "COVID pass" would be required before people in the two cities are permitted to enter designated areas.

According to Chen, the central government also plans to introduce some new domestic regulations pertaining to the digital COVID-19 certificate that is currently being used mainly for overseas travel.

The digital certificate, which became available in Taiwan on Jan. 1, provides a proof of an individual's vaccination status and COVID-19 test results.

Chen said local governments are free to adopt their own rules regarding the use of the digital COVID-19 certificate, once they do not infringe on people's freedom and human rights.

People who receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine show their vaccination cards. CNA file photo
People who receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine show their vaccination cards. CNA file photo

According to Hou, New Taipei is planning to require a "COVID-19 pass" for entry to schools and other "vulnerable spaces," in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The city government will consult with experts before deciding whether to include other venues such as stores and government buildings, he said.

Currently, non-students entering elementary schools in New Taipei are required to show their COVID-19 vaccination cards or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. This is for the protection of students under the age of 12, who are not eligible in Taiwan to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to city officials.

In Taipei, meanwhile, Ko proposed that a "COVID pass" could be used to exempt vaccinated people from some of the current disease prevention rules, such as wearing a face mask while exercising in a public area.

Taiwan recently tightened its mask mandate nationwide, as dozens of locally transmitted COVID-19 cases have been reported since Jan. 3, including six new ones on Saturday.

Information about the booster dose and additional dose can be found at https://t.ly/4ZuW
Information about the booster dose and additional dose can be found at https://t.ly/4ZuW

In addition to imposing a stricter mask mandate, Taiwan has also adjusted its border control measures, requiring arriving passengers on long-haul flights to wait at the airport until their COVID-19 test results become available.

The central government has also shortened the recommended time between the second COVID-19 doses and the booster shot, from five months to 12 weeks.

(By Chen Chie-ling, Wu Hsin-yun and Kay Liu)

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