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Local governments blast Taiwan's contact tracing system

Local governments question value, effectiveness of national contact tracing policy

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Man checking in via government contact tracing system

Man checking in via government contact tracing system (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Reports have surfaced of local governments lambasting the central government’s policy of requiring people to leave their personal information for contact tracing purposes when entering public facilities or stores, CNA reported on Tuesday (June 29).

The policy requiring everyone who enters a public building to leave their contact information or sharing their whereabouts via text message has been enforced since May 19, when the nationwide Level 3 COVID alert was instituted.

Its aim is to make tracking down contacts of COVID-infected people easier and help control the spread of the pandemic. However, the validity and value of the policy have been called into question.

Undisclosed local governments have complained that when they try to use this information for contact tracing, they are hindered either by the overwhelming amount of data or the sluggish system, making it difficult to obtain necessary information, UDN reported. The local governments blasted the system as inconvenient and useless.

Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy head of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), defended the policy on Tuesday, saying it serves just as an auxiliary method of contract tracing, as it only records a person's arrival time but not the time they leave a location. As for how long confirmed cases stay in one place and who they come into contact with, a more precise investigation is still needed, he added.