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[Update] New Year's Day flag-raising ceremony in Taipei will not open to public

Annual flag-raising ceremony in front of Presidential Office will proceed with stricter health and safety measures

Flag-raising ceremony at Taiwan's Presidential Office in 2019

Flag-raising ceremony at Taiwan's Presidential Office in 2019 (CNA photo)

[Last update: Dec. 30 at 17:30]

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The flag-raising ceremony at the Presidential Office on Friday morning (Jan. 1) will proceed as scheduled, but it will not be open to the public, the Presidential Office said on Wednesday, citing strict health measures.

The flag-raising ceremony and a series of performances staged in front of the Presidential Office has been an annual celebration of the New Year that draws tens of hundreds of people. Yet the Presidential Office Spokesperson Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said on Wednesday afternoon that the event will not open to the public this year, nor will the Presidential Office be open for public visits on Friday.

Chang cited stricter health and safety measures after the country reported its first case of the new COVID-19 strain on Wednesday, with the patient being one of the three confirmed cases that arrived in Taiwan from the U.K. on Dec. 27.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The New Year’s Day flag-raising ceremony will be held early Friday morning (Jan. 1) in front of the Presidential Office, with military personnel leading the singing of the national anthem.

The ceremony will feature a series of performances that will kick off at 5:10 a.m. on Friday. Ketagalan Boulevard, where the main stage is set up, will open at 4:30 a.m.

Performances will include a street dance performance put on by more than 100 students from 20 high schools as well as student marching bands and honor guards. There will also be a performance by a local theatrical troupe and a show from a Taiwan-based Taiko drum group.

The military marching band and honor guards will then join the crowd, which will be followed by the singing of the national anthem and the flag-raising ceremony at 6:27 a.m. According to Taiwan’s Rotary Club, the organizer of the festivities, representatives from the military and a choir formed by club members will lead the singing.

The military has contributed to the country’s fight against the coronavirus while managing to ensure the nation’s security throughout this year, said the organizers. They will have the support and gratitude of the public, the group added.

After the flag-raising ceremony, more performances will follow suit. The festivities will be live-streamed on YouTube.

The event will be held under strict health safety measures, with those having a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius being denied entry. Participants will be required to wear masks at all times and bring personal documents such as ID cards for checking at the entrance.