Taipei and New Taipei on same page in fight against coronavirus

North Taiwan cities want to install face mask vending machines, among other joint initiatives

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (right) with New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih 

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (right) with New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) agreed Thursday (March 26) to install face mask vending machines in the fight against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under the program, citizens will use their IDs to receive masks from a machine at their local borough office or at schools, the Liberty Times reported. The two cities reached 10 agreements during Thursday’s meeting, most of them related to the virus epidemic.

Joint quarantine centers, similar measures to deal with Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) passengers with fevers, and hotel checks were issues the two mayors agreed on, according to the report. The cities would also share hotel rooms to isolate potential virus cases or people required to stay in quarantine, the mayors said.

In addition to several MRT stations, three stations on the Tamsui Light Rail Transit line would also be fitted with infrared screening equipment. This would lead to passengers with a fever of 38 degrees or higher to be prevented from entering, according to officials.

Speaking to the media the previous day, Hou said that in the case of a virus emergency, the city authorities needed to gain control over the traffic flow within two hours. Until now, no citywide lockdowns were being considered, though the former national police chief warned local governments should be prepared.