Taiwan's CECC contemplates easing mask requirement on public transportation

The government seeks to balance pandemic prevention and discomfort caused by wearing masks during hotter weather

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CECC considers making mask-wearing on public transportation non-compulsory. 

CECC considers making mask-wearing on public transportation non-compulsory.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As temperatures in most parts of Taiwan continued to soar above 36 degrees Celsius on Sunday (May 10), the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said officials have started to consider making mask-wearing non-compulsory on public transportation.

Following the CECC's Sunday announcement that the nation has not recorded a single case of local transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) for 28 straight days, Taiwanese lawmakers have advised the CECC to adjust some of its pandemic prevention measures. Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) also hinted that an initiative to revive Taiwan's tourism would be introduced once the streak of no local infections reached 30 days.

During a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan on Monday (May 11), legislators Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) of the New Power Party (NPP) and Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) of the Kuomintang (KMT) pointed out that a few Taiwanese had experienced physical discomfort from wearing masks during high temperatures. They wondered whether it would be possible for the CECC to revise its mask-wearing policy on public transportation and encourage it instead of making it mandatory.

In response, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Ho Chi-kung (何啟功) said the CECC had started considering the idea, but remained hesitant due to the potential risk of asymptomatic spread. However, he said the government's health officials were negotiating to make mask-wearing non-compulsory under certain conditions, according to Storm Media.

When asked about the likelihood of increasing the maximum attendance cap for Taiwan's professional baseball league, Ho said the CECC would base its decision on the country's pandemic situation progress. He added that food and beverages may soon be allowed at the games over the next few weeks, reported CNA.