I’ve said before how Taiwan was one of the first to act on COVID-19: to test incoming travellers, to quarantine people, and to shut down international travel. It was also one of the first to mandate masks, though that wasn’t difficult since many are used to it (re: the pollution in some cities).
In advance of flu season, the government is now mandating masks everywhere, come December 1st: ALL indoor locations, including nightclubs unless “social distancing” is possible. So much for wearing lipstick when I go clubbing. (And what about my birthday party in February…?) I wouldn’t mind so much if I could find the leopard print medical masks some people are wearing.
Taiwan will mandate the wearing of face masks at eight types of public venues from Dec. 1, with fines of NT$3,000 (US$105.16)-NT$15,000 for non-compliance, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.
The new rules are intended to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses during their peak season in the winter months, and to prevent the overburdening of Taiwan’s healthcare system, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at a press briefing.
Masks were already required on public transit, taxis, schools, and certain other places, and many stores, banks and others chose to enforce it. Now it’s mandatory which means almost everywhere with enclosed spaces or dense gatherings of people. About the only place people won’t be required to wear it will be home, sidewalks and parks or other outdoor spaces, or while you’re eating in a restaurant. It’s an annoyance, but nearly everyone is complying already. Among the foreigner community and in many Taiwan-based facebook groups, there are trumpkins who are anti-mask as much as they are anti-vaccination. I hope they get deported when they refuse to be innoculated.
More below the fold.
People in Taiwan may be able to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine, developed and produced by international companies, by mid-2021, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Tuesday.
An experimental vaccine developed by the American biotech company Moderna Inc. has yielded striking early results, showing close to 95 percent efficacy, it was announced Monday, one week after Pfizer and BioNTech reported promising results in their joint COVID-19 vaccine trials.
Asked about Taiwan’s plans to acquire COVID-19 vaccines, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said Tuesday that while the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are in the third stage of human trials, there are other candidates.
Taiwan will not focus on any one vaccine candidate but rather would try to acquire them through the COVAX allocation plan, domestic research and development programs, and from international drug makers, he said.
Last week, there was a call for volunteers to test the vaccine, with full compensation and medical care guaranteed for any side effects. Their call was only open to citizens and to foreigners with permanent residency, which I thought a bad idea. Wouldn’t they want the widest range of ethnic and genetic groups to ensure there are no side effects? There are medicines known to have side effects only on certain groups (e.g. primaquine).
Another recent decision of Taiwan’s government was to require a negative COVID-19 test before travelling. Visitors who arrive at the airport and test positive or without a negative test could be rejected and sent back. It’s harsh, but comparing the situations here and elsewhere, I can’t criticise them.
Random: Taiwan’s P.League (pro basketball) will begin its season in December. I was surprised to see a crowd of 6,600 for an exhibition game. The CPBL was outdoors, and they limited fans to every third seat. An enclosed arena is much closer quarters and less air circulation.