TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) recently tore into Taiwan’s masking rules, saying that only two other countries in the world, China and North Korea, are still forcibly enforcing masking policies like Taiwan’s, which prompted Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Victor Wang (王必勝) to defend the policy on Wednesday (Sept. 14).
Ko routinely makes various remarks, Wang said at Wednesday's routine COVID-19 briefing, citing the mayor as saying, "it’s ridiculous to wear masks," and "the country had done a poor job preventing the epidemic" when the numbers of daily confirmed COVID-19 cases rose.
Wang added that wearing masks has been the most effective and simplest way of preventing the spread of the epidemic, and as domestic BA.5 cases are peaking, he hoped that the public would follow the CECC’s mask-wearing rule.
The mayor had earlier said that the central government’s epidemic prevention guidelines were not clear. He cited the masking guidelines that prohibit people from going around a table to toast at dinner parties but allow them to toast while sitting. Ambiguous rules have caused people to be at a loss as to what to do, Ko added.
Wang rebutted the mayor’s accusation, saying that the CECC’s guidelines have been very clear from the beginning and have not been changed recently. With regard to the toasting guidelines, he said that people take their masks off while eating, but they should wear them while getting up for other purposes. The rationale is to decrease the opportunities for transmission, which has been explained many times, he added.
In the future, when the epidemic wanes, various prevention measures will be adjusted, including masking guidelines, according to the CECC head.