New Taipei government holds simulation of 21-day lockdown

Mayor Hou Yu-ih prepares for potential lockdown in case Taiwan’s pandemic worsens

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New Taipei city Mayor Hou You-yi (left) in conversation with CECC's panel convener Chang Shan-chwen.

New Taipei city Mayor Hou You-yi (left) in conversation with CECC's panel convener Chang Shan-chwen. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As New Taipei city continues to add more coronavirus-infected patients, the city government on Monday (April 20) launched a simulation of a 21-day lockdown to prepare for the potential worsening of the country's pandemic.

Following Mayor Hou You-yi's (侯友宜) order to shut down all sports centers, museums, and libraries in New Taipei on March 20, the city officials on Monday engaged in a simulated lockdown exercise and evaluated the most effective ways to carry out school cancellation and distribution of medical resources. The exercise was believed to be a response to Taiwan's recent Navy vessel cases confirmed over the weekend, according to UDN.

Hou said that the city government is planning to implement a 21-day lockdown and ban all non-essential movement for its citizens once the risk of community clusters becomes too high. He explained that the 21 days will consist of a 14-day coronavirus incubation period and an additional 7 days for the virus carriers to recover.

In the case of a lockdown, the New Taipei mayor noted that a principle of "low activity, high activity control" would be followed. He pointed out that only frontline medical workers, essential government employees, and individuals carrying travel permits issued by the government would be allowed to leave their houses.

Hou said he has discussed the lockdown plan with mayors from other cities and said that it is crucial for all local governments to join together if the worst-case scenario happens. However, he said the decision for a lockdown would have to be approved by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) first, according to Liberty Times.

At a press interview following the lockdown simulation, the CECC's advisory specialist panel convener, Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳), gave positive feedback to New Taipei's advanced planning. He stressed that it is unlikely that life in Taiwan will return to normal until a vaccine is developed, and he hopes the Taiwanese can continue to endure the inconvenience for the country's safety, reported CNA.

As of Monday afternoon, New Taipei has recorded 90 coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, Taipei has confirmed 115 infections and Kaohsiung and Taichung have 39 and 40, respectively.