Several events marking the Lantern Festival began yesterday, with the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Taichung deploying nearly 40 medical personnel to help prevent the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
A parade in the morning organized by the Taichung City Government and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on the Calligraphy Greenway (草悟道) featured performances by 11 groups from Taiwan and overseas, while the Taiwan Lantern Festival’s opening ceremony in the evening was attended by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).
The Taichung Health Bureau said it has set up six medical care stations and deployed nearly 40 medical personnel at the city festival’s main exhibition area in Houli District (后里).
Photo: Chen Hsien-yi, Taipei Times
Those who have respiratory symptoms or are required to monitor their health conditions due to travel and contact history are advised not to visit the festival until 14 days have passed, the bureau said.
Nearly 95 percent of the festival’s events are outdoors and walking outdoors is healthy, Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) said, adding that the city government has fully prepared to implement quarantine measures, and disinfect exhibition venues and shuttle buses.
The Taichung festival runs through Feb. 23.
The Taipei Lantern Festival opened in the Ximending (西門町) area, while lanterns are also on display at Nangang Station (南港車站), the festival’s east exhibition area.
The Taipei event runs through Sunday next week.
The Taipei Department of Information and Tourism said it has alcohol solution and sterilized water available at the Taipei festival’s information desks, childcare and medical care booths.
Unapproved use of uncrewed aerial vehicles is prohibited and drones would be intercepted, the Taipei City Government said.
Tainan’s Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival (鹽水蜂炮) was on Friday evening and last night, while the Bombing of Master Handan (炸寒單爺) began in Taitung yesterday, with more than 20 rites planned for yesterday and today.
Folk stories say that epidemics commonly affected Taitung during the Japanese colonial period and the deity Handan would drive out devils, and bring wealth and fortune during the Lantern Festival.
Hopefully, this year’s ritual would exorcize the coronavirus, Taitung Mayor Chang Kuo-chou (張國洲) said.
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