TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) poured cold water on a suggestion by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) Saturday (Oct. 30) that wearing a mask might no longer be necessary soon as the country achieves a high vaccination coverage.
The outspoken mayor had hinted that 70% of the capital’s population might have received two COVID shots by the start of the Lunar New Year holiday in late January, making mask mandates a thing of the past.
However, CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) described masks as “the first line of defense” against the virus, saying wearing them would still be recommended in certain locations.
While the number of local cases has dwindled to almost zero, the situation was not so positive overseas, Chuang said, noting that Taiwan was still registering imported cases. As the number of arrivals was likely to rise before and during the Jan. 29-Feb. 6 holiday period, continuing to wear a mask will still be preferred, CNA reported.
Despite the higher vaccination coverage in other countries, the number of breakthrough cases was also rising, suggesting that people are letting down their guard and abandoning preventive measures, CECC officials said.