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Taipei mayor says city now meets criteria for relaxed COVID rules

Taipei has not reported any unknown source of infections for almost two weeks

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Vendors wear face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus at a roast shop in Taipei, in August. 

Vendors wear face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus at a roast shop in Taipei, in August.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Friday (Sept. 24) the coronavirus pandemic has been brought under control in the capital and that it’s justifiable to scale back COVID-19 curbs.

Taipei has not reported any unknown source of infections since Sept. 11. This means reduced restrictions should be expected given that the city has been able to identify all sources of new cases for almost a fortnight, Ko said in a briefing.

About 150 people remain in quarantine in Taipei, the lowest since the COVID surge began in mid-May. Ko believes the city’s on track to lower rules to Level 1, based on a four-tier epidemic prevention scheme, but acknowledged that higher vaccination coverage is needed for the country to further open up.

Taiwan is currently under a Level 2 alert, which will last until at least Oct. 4, but many economic activities have been allowed with conditions over recent weeks. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has hinted that Taiwan will not consider loosening rules until at least 60% of the population has received a first shot.

As of Thursday (Sept. 23), over 13.8 million doses have been given, with 50.8% of the population partially inoculated, according to an official tally. Taiwan has recorded single-digit local cases on a daily basis since Aug. 30.