Taiwan post offices to require visitors to wear masks against coronavirus

Fines likely to range from NT$3,000-$15,000

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Masks to be compulsory at post offices soon 

Masks to be compulsory at post offices soon  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following the example of public transportation, post offices in Taiwan will start requiring visitors to wear masks to protect themselves from the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), with details to be announced next week, reports said Saturday (April 11).

As is the case on the country's trains, buses, and Mass Rapid Transit systems, those who do not observe the new regulation could be subject to a fine of up to NT$15,000 (US$499), CNA reported. At present, visitors have their temperatures measured when entering a post office and are turned away if they have a fever of 37.5 degrees Celsius or higher.

The head of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), said Saturday that he did not oppose the new measure since post offices are, at times, so crowded that it's not possible for visitors to maintain the ideal indoor “social distance” of 1.5 meters.

As many of the visitors to the nation’s 1,200 post offices are elderly, who spend a lot of time inside, the wearing of masks should be compulsory, CNA quoted officials as saying. At first, staff will try and persuade clients without a mask to put one on, but if they do not listen, police will be called in and a fine of NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 could be issued.

On Saturday, the number of coronavirus cases in Taiwan reached 385, including six deaths and 99 patients already released from hospitals.