TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the four-day Mid-Autumn Festival kicked off last week, a photo surfaced showing massive throngs of people had descended on the resort town of Kenting, prompting some netizens to fear that the gathering could be a superspreader event for COVID-19.
This year's Mid-Autumn Festival holiday in Taiwan ran from Sept. 18-21 and took place amid relaxed Level 2 epidemic prevention measures as local COVID-19 cases have ebbed in recent weeks. On Saturday (Sept. 18), the first official day of the holiday, Facebook and Instagram user Pingtungden posted a photo showing people packed shoulder to shoulder on Kenting Main Street.
According to statistics by local Kenting authorities, over 9,000 people had crowded onto the town's main thoroughfare by Saturday, with 8,000 there on Sunday, and by Monday, the total number of visitors had risen to 20,000. In the photo, people can be seen shirking social distance guidelines as some eat while walking.
Some netizens were concerned that the packed crowds could start a new outbreak:
"Epidemic prevention breach."
"Level 4 light starting to come into view."
"Some people work hard at epidemic prevention, other people work hard at spreading the disease."
"With this kind of crowd gathering, the outbreak will explode as soon as the Mid-Autumn Festival ends."
In response to the reports of large crowds, the Pingtung County Government on Monday announced that it would implement crowd control measures 30 minutes later that day. During the first press conference after the big holiday had concluded on Wednesday, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) officials said that they will monitor the area for the next two weeks to see if there are any signs of a cluster infection.
(Instagram, pingtungden photo)