The nation’s five special municipalities, home to 60 percent of the population, began operations yesterday, starting a new phase in Taiwan’s administrative history.
Taipei, New Taipei City (新北市, the proposed name of the upgraded Taipei County), Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung began operating as megacities almost one month after the residents of the five municipalities, including Taipei City, chose their mayors in high-profile elections on Nov. 27.
In addition to Taipei City and New Taipei City, the other three cities were expanded through a merger of two administrative districts.
Greater Taichung is the result of a merger of Taichung City and Taichung County; Greater Tainan a merger of Tainan City and Tainan County; and Greater Kaohsiung a merger of Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County.
According to Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), the change is aimed at making the five megacities “spearheads of Taiwan’s regional development” and “cores of the three living areas of northern, central and southern Taiwan.”
The new system is not likely to affect the everyday life of the 13.7 million residents in the five cities, but integrating local governments and administrative branches are likely to present a big challenge in the cities where mergers took place.
Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung both split their agencies into two parts to keep them in their original office buildings, while Greater Taichung opted for three office buildings in different parts of its administrative area.
Effective yesterday, townships (鄉鎮) and county-administered cities (市) are renamed “districts (區)” and villages (村) will be renamed “boroughs (里).” District chiefs are to be appointed by mayors rather than being elected, as was previously the case.
Township councils have been disbanded, which means thousands of township and city councilmen have lost their jobs.
Newly elected mayors have focused on the financial aspects of the new city governments. Taichung City Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) publicly expressed concern that the city would be in financial trouble if budget allocating procedures and tax regulations were not reformed.
New Taipei City faced a different problem — trying to figure out what to call itself in English. Mayor-elect Eric Chu (朱立倫) has announced that he wanted the new city’s English name to be “New Taipei City,” because Sinbei means “new Taipei” in Chinese.
However, the move was blocked by the Ministry of the Interior for now, with Deputy Interior Minister Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎) saying the ministry would discuss the proposal with Chu at a later date.
Passengers on domestic flights would not be allowed to board if their temperature is more than 37.5°C or if they refuse to have their temperatures taken, Uni Air (立榮航空) and Mandarin Airlines (華信航空) said yesterday. The two airlines made the announcement after their parent companies — EVA Airways (長榮航空) and China Airlines (CAL, 中華航空) respectively — announced similar pre-boarding requirements on Saturday, along with a requirement that passengers wear masks during their flights, except when they have meals or drinks. Uni Air and Mandarin Airlines said domestic passengers would be required to wear masks from the time they start using self-help
CASE COUNT RISES: One of the new domestic cases is a nurse at a long-term care center, but so far tests on all the residents and other staff have been negative Flight transits through all Taiwanese airports would be banned for two weeks, starting tomorrow, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it announced 16 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the nation’s total to 169. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said all flight transits would be banned through April 7. In light of the rapidly increasing number of imported COVID-19 cases, there was a need to further reduce cross-border travel and the risk of disease transmission, the center said. The Civil Aeronautics Administration has informed airlines about the new measures, and anyone who has
A public health expert yesterday warned that too many people are meeting in small groups in coffee shops and restaurants without keeping a proper distance from one another, as he urged the government to loosen the criteria for testing young Taiwanese returning from abroad for COVID-19. People need to keep a social distance of at least 2m, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health dean Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權) said as the college presented its seventh weekly report on COVID-19 at a morning news conference. More than 300,000 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in more than three-quarters of all
TWEET CONFIRMED: The US’ Morgan Ortagus backed up Taiwan, saying China only admitted that human-to-human transmission was possible as late as Jan. 20 Taiwan warned the WHO and China about possible human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus at the end of last year, but the global health body did not make it public, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Department of International Organizations Director-General Bob Chen (陳龍錦) made the remark at a news briefing in Taipei, when asked about statements made by US Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus. “Dec. 31— that’s the same day Taiwan first tried to warn WHO of human-human transmission. Chinese authorities meanwhile silenced doctors and refused to admit human-human transmission until Jan. 20, with catastrophic consequences,” Ortagus wrote on