TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After announcing an unprecedented 180 local COVID-19 cases, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) declared that epidemic restrictions in Taipei and New Taipei will be raised to Level 3.
At an emergency press conference on Saturday morning, CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced the country had the largest number of domestic infections reported in one day since the start of the pandemic in Taiwan. The vast majority of the new cases are in northern Taiwan, with 89 in Taipei and 75 in New Taipei, while six were reported in Changhua, four in Yilan and Taoyuan, and one in Taichung and Keelung.
Given the concentration of infections in Taipei and New Taipei, Chen announced the two cities would immediately raise their epidemic warning to Level 3. This marks the first time during the pandemic that Level 3 restrictions have been imposed in Taiwan.
A Level 3 alert means that all people must wear masks at all times when venturing out and indoor gatherings are limited to five people, while outdoor gatherings are restricted to 10. A wide spectrum of business and public venues are to be closed, with the exception of essential services, police departments, hospitals, and government buildings.
In those businesses and public institutions that remain open, crowd control, masks, and social distancing are required. Workplaces must abide by epidemic prevention requirements, implement personal and workplace hygiene management, and initiate corporate continuous operation response measures, such as remote work and flexible working hours.
Chen said individuals who do not wear a mask when going out will face fines of between NT$3,000 (US$100) and NT$15,000 for violating the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法). Persons who violate the ban on large gatherings and religious activities, or enter venues that are supposed to be closed, will face fines of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000.
The following measures have been incorporated into the CECC's four-tier system:
- Masks required on public transportation and in public areas
- Recommendation that non-essential gatherings be postponed or canceled
- Businesses and public venues required to implement real-name registration, social distancing, temperature checks, and regular disinfection
- Fines for failing to abide by mask rules
- Outdoor gatherings over 500 and indoor gatherings over 100 banned
- Public gatherings must include social distancing, masks, partitions, real-name registration, temperature checks, crowd control, and regular disinfection or be canceled
- Wearing of masks at all times outdoors
- Indoor gatherings limited to five people
- All places of business and public venues are shuttered, with the exception of essential services, police departments, hospitals, and government buildings
- Masks and social distancing required at all businesses or venues that remain open
- In areas where community transmission has taken place, residents are restricted to a set perimeter and must submit to COVID-19 testing
- People can only leave home for essential activities and must wear a mask and maintain a social distance at all times
- Even when at home, masking and social distancing must be practiced
- All public events canceled, with the exception of essential services such as law enforcement, medical and government services
- All in-person school and work activities suspended
- Lockdowns will be imposed in counties, cities, or townships where an outbreak has become severe. Only designated persons may enter or leave these lockdown zones, and residents must stay in their homes
The following are the criteria for each of Taiwan's four epidemic warning tier levels: