Wearing a face mask to become compulsory on the Taipei MRT from April 4

Early change follows publication of fines by central government

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Passengers at a Taipei MRT station 

Passengers at a Taipei MRT station  (CNA photo)

UPDATE April 3, 2020 07: 10 p.m.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Starting on April 4, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations and buses in Taipei and New Taipei must refuse entry to passengers not wearing masks to protect against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), according to the Taipei City Government.

The city had initially proposed to launch the measure on April 9, when each Taiwanese resident will be allowed to buy nine masks once every two weeks, as there will be enough face masks to go around, CNA quoted Taipei City Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) as saying.

However, later in the day, the central government announced it would force all users of public transport to use masks, leading to Taipei City announcing its new measure would start Saturday (April 4).

The central government had already recommended that people keep a “social distance” of 1 meter outdoors and 1.5 m indoors, and when that is not possible, such as in the public transportation systems, then people should wear masks.

At the moment, citizens ae still lining up outside pharmacies to buy masks, which means that the supply is still not enough, but from April 9, everyone should have one mask per day, allowing passengers to wear one during their journey, Huang stated.