TAIPEI (CNA) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Sunday lifted some of its restrictions on large gatherings, social distancing and the need for face masks, citing Taiwan’s record of no new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases for 56 straight days.
“Domestically Taiwan has proved to be in relatively good shape, after eight weeks of zero local infections, and we think it is safe to ease the control measures,” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said at a daily press briefing.
Some of the restrictions include the requirement for masks on public transportation and domestic flights, according to the CECC.
From Sunday, passengers on the Taiwan High Speed Rail (TSHR), Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), highway coaches, metro systems, city buses, and domestic flights will still be required to have their temperatures checked at the gate and to wear a mask up to that point, but they will be allowed to remove the mask after that if proper social distancing can be observed, the CECC said.
If proper social distancing cannot be maintained, however, passengers will be required to wear a mask for the entire trip, the CECC said.
Food tasting and sampling has also been revived at supermarkets and retail warehouses, on condition that people keep their hands clean and observe proper personal hygiene, the CECC said.
Its restrictions on mass gatherings of more than 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors have also been lifted for scenic areas, night markets, and art and cultural events, the CECC said.
Furthermore, national performance venues are also allowed to again sell tickets for a full house, according to the CECC.
Chen said, however, that people will still be required to give their names and contact details at large gatherings and events, practice good personal hygiene, wear face masks if they cannot keep a safe distance from others, and avoid crowded public areas if they feel sick.
The last time Taiwan recorded a domestic infection was on April 12, which is a sufficient reason to lift some restrictions, the CECC said.
To date, 352 of Taiwan’s 443 cases of COVID-19 have been classified as imported, while 55 are believed to be local infections, according to CECC statistics.
The other 36 cases were on board a Navy vessel that was on a goodwill mission in the Pacific in March, a cluster infection the CECC says originated in Taiwan.
To date, 430 COVID-19 patients in Taiwan have recovered, seven have died, and the others are in hospital, the CECC said.
Globally, COVID-19 has infected 6,873,363 people in 187 countries and regions, including 1,951,906 in the United States, 646,420 in Brazil, 458,689 in Russia, 284,868 in the United Kingdom, and 241,310 in Spain, with a total of 398,921 fatalities, according to CECC statistics as of Sunday.