CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan introduces COVID vaccine mandate for some entertainment venues
Taipei, Jan. 20 (CNA) Starting Friday, people will be required to show proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before being allowed to enter certain adult entertainment venues, and Taiwan's digital COVID-19 certificates will be more widely available, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Thursday.
The vaccine mandate will be in place at disco halls, nightclubs, clubs, bars, and pubs, as well as beauty parlors, saunas and teahouses with hosts or hostesses, the CECC said in a statement.
The new requirements have been introduced in response to the spread of the Omicron variant and recent rise in domestic COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, the CECC said.
A person is considered fully vaccinated if they have completed their primary vaccination series (which in Taiwan is two doses of an approved vaccine) a minimum of 14 days ago, the CECC said.
When asked what punishments will be imposed if businesses or customers violate the mandate, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that the Ministry of Economic Affairs would draft relevant guidelines.
Asked whether people who are not vaccinated for medical reasons could still enter these venues, Chen said no.
On whether the vaccine mandate could be expanded to include restaurants and movie theaters, Chen said it would be okay if individual restaurants or a chain restaurant enforced such rules, but "it would be unsuitable" if several chains imposed them jointly.
"We are not yet in a situation where there should be a vaccine mandate in place at all restaurants," Chen said, adding that the CECC would discuss the issue of restaurant groups imposing such rules with the Fair Trade Commission.
Chen said he agrees with a proposal by New Taipei City government that individuals should have to show proof of vaccination before entering elementary schools, preschools, or daycare centers where most students cannot be vaccinated due to their age.
Also on Thursday, the CECC announced that more Taiwan nationals will be able to download digital COVID-19 certificates used by the government starting 8 a.m. Friday, and a verification system rolled out by the government will go online at the same time.
Two types of digital certificates -- one for vaccination status and the other for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results -- have been available for download from the government website https://dvc.mohw.gov.tw since Dec. 28. However, Taiwan nationals have been required to input a valid passport number to download them.
Beginning Friday, Taiwanese citizens can input their Household Certificate number instead of a passport number to access the system. They also need their National ID number and National Health Insurance (NHI) card number to log in, the CECC said.
The log-in requirements for foreign nationals legally residing in Taiwan remain unchanged; they can log in with their Alien Resident Certificate number and one of the following: NHI card number, entry/exit permit number, or passport number, the CECC said.
People can only obtain certificates for COVID-19 vaccinations and tests administered in Taiwan, and the certificates can be directly saved onto a phone or computer, printed out or individuals can have them sent to their email address, according to the CECC.
The verification system for digital COVID-19 certificates, which will be available at the website https://dvc.mohw.gov.tw/verifier-web, can be used to scan the QR codes on digital certificates issued by Taiwan, the CECC said.
It can also scan certificates issued by countries in the European Union and non-EU countries that have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate system, as Taiwan has also joined the system, the CECC said.
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