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Taiwan's mask law to stay in July to prevent 'other diseases'

CECC head wants to keep mask rules in place to protect against 'other respiratory diseases'

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Taiwan's mask law to stay in July to prevent 'other diseases'

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Despite reports indicating that Taiwan could relax its mask mandate in July, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head on Tuesday (June 7) said that the mask mandate would remain in place for the time being because they are effective in preventing "other respiratory diseases."

When inspecting vaccination efforts at an elementary school in Keelung on Tuesday morning, a member of the media asked Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) if mask rules would be loosened in July and the border opened in August. Su said that after more than two years of hard work, now is the most important and final moment of the pandemic and called on everyone to continue to be patient so that "we can win this crucial battle and enter a normal life."

Su assessed that Taiwan is indeed in a plateau period and the trend in cases is gradually declining. He said that depending on the situation with the outbreak, the vaccination coverage rate, and the capacity of various medical treatments, epidemic prevention measures will be adjusted and the CECC will present detailed plans at its discretion.

During a press conference that afternoon, a reporter asked CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) to comment on reports that mask regulations would be relaxed in July and that the border will be reopened in August. Chen said that given the fluctuations in the outbreak, the CECC is not able to plan as far in advance as August, but will make adjustments in response to the epidemic situation.

Regarding the loosening of mask rules in July, Chen said "for the time being, we will probably not be implementing an overall relaxation of mask (rules) because, in addition to COVID-19, masks have a considerable preventative effect on other respiratory diseases." Chen did not elaborate on what other respiratory diseases the CECC is concerned about.

Chen said that even if the ban on masks is lifted, the relaxed measures will only apply to "special situations." Chen emphasized that generally, masks should continue to be worn at all times.