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Taiwan's CECC moving towards relaxing Level 3 on July 13

Indoor dining may return on July 13 if restaurants can implement epidemic prevention measures

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Taiwan's CECC moving towards relaxing Level 3 on July 13

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday (July 6) announced that it is moving towards opening up the Level 3 restrictions if certain conditions are met.

Since May 19, Taiwan has been under Level 3 epidemic control restrictions, which have been extended to July 12. When posed the question as to whether the alert level will be lowered given the steady decrease in cases, CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) on Tuesday said that if by July 13 there are "good preventative measures, response capabilities, and high-intensity controls, it would be possible to move down the road of opening up."

However, he cautioned that it will still depend on the situation on July 12 before the CECC makes a final decision.

Chen pointed out that the recent outbreaks in most counties and cities have stabilized and the number of confirmed cases in Taipei City and New Taipei City is decreasing. He noted that large-scale screening, contact tracing, and quarantines have made several hotspots relatively safe.

The CECC head said that current planning is heading in the direction of relaxing restrictions on some activities that are beneficial to physical and mental health, as well as indoor and outdoor dining. "But in the end, the epidemic is the most important thing, and opening up is not the goal. The main objective is to gradually get life back on track once the epidemic is controlled," stressed Chen.

He pointed out that there were two indicators for entering the Level 3 alert. One was less than three cluster infections per week and the other was less than 10 cases in which the source of infection was unknown in one week.

Chen said that although there have not been any new community cluster infections for several days and there were no cases with an unknown source on Tuesday, these indicators are relatively unstable. Therefore, he said the CECC is now looking for an indicator that can better show the ability to control and respond to an outbreak and determine the appropriate alert level.

When asked whether there may be some "micro-unlocking" of the restrictions, Chen emphasized that there will be very strict requirements. For example, in the future, if restaurants wish to open up to indoor dining, they must install partitions, ensure proper social distance between dining customers, maintain a real-name system, measure customers' temperatures, and continuously disinfect dining areas.

Chen pointed out that all restaurants may not be able to achieve these basic measures and that if they cannot, they must return to a take-out model. He expressed his hope that businesses can prepare for these new rules as soon as possible.