Three To See: News about the 30th, 31st, and 1st

Exactly what the title says. . .well, three plus one more.  The three indented links are from the China Post newspaper, the fourth from The Nation.

December 30th marks one year since Taiwan took action against COVID-19, testing people coming from China for fever.  As the saying goes, “First to know, first to act”.  Because of Taiwan’s experience with SARS in 2003 (73 dead), the government created a plan for dealing with future diseases.  As has been noted elsewhere, and even the WHO had to admit, Taiwan’s government warned the WHO on December 31, 2019.  Nothing was done, the information was never passed on to other countries.  Now we’re dealing with worldwide consequences.

Taiwan marks one-year anniversary of fight against COVID-19

Some New Year’s Eve celebrations on December 31st will still go ahead, most notably the fireworks display outside Taipei 101.  However, many parties have been cancelled, and masks are now mandatory at all NYE events, indoor and outdoor.  It’s very likely police will be checking all venues for compliance.

For the last few years, the subway system has operated around the clock on NYE, from 5AM on December 31st until 11:59PM on January 1st.  It’s great in most years for those attending parties because getting a taxi home is near impossible.  But with events cancelled, I doubt there will be that many riders.  I’ll be staying home tomorrow night, writing stuff here and sending messages to friends.  On Friday, friends and I plan to meet for coffee and such.

Taipei City makes face masks mandatory on New Year’s Eve

Starting January 1st, the government announced that no new foreigners will be permitted into the country, a response to contract labourers from Southeast Asia who entered during the last few months and tested positive, but moreso the new strain of COVID-19 from the UK.   People with an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC, which I have), business contracts (temporary visitors), diplomats, and their family can enter, but no one else.  Just like last March, the decision to shut the door has come very quickly.  Many who were planning to come here and even had work contracts are now unable to get in.

Foreigners barred from entering Taiwan starting Jan. 1

Additional: China is barring travel during Lunar New Year (February 10-16, year of the Ox).  They’re claiming it’s “a precaution”, but I suspect they’re controlling the spread.

Taiwan is also going through a cold snap tomorrow. . .well, cold for Taiwan, anyway (3°C to 5°C).  This country builds for earthquakes and typhoons, insulation isn’t part of normal construction.  It was five years ago that a cold wave killed 85 people.