The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced that its main strategy would now be to maintain strict border controls, but that it would start relaxing domestic regulations from Sunday next week.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that there were no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections yesterday, and a total of 416 infected patients have been removed from isolation after treatment.
While confirmed cases continued to increase globally, reaching more than 5.5 million yesterday, there have been no domestic cases in Taiwan for 44 consecutive days, he said.
Infection control measures would continue to be strictly implemented at national borders, while large-scale easing of domestic rules would begin on Sunday next week, Chen said, adding that by then, there would probably have been no domestic cases for eight weeks.
Rules on the maximum number of people allowed at events, seat arrangements and visitor flow would be eased, but people should still practice social distancing or wear masks, maintain good hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and stay at home or see a doctor if they feel ill, Chen said.
Real-name or contact registration systems should still be enforced, he added.
As for foreign visitors, the CECC is considering establishing a mutual authentication mechanism with other countries, which would allow the 14-day mandatory quarantine period for arrivals to be shortened, depending on tests conducted in the country of departure and after arrival in Taiwan, he said.
Priority would be given to foreigners with humanitarian, medical and important economic and trade exchange needs, he said, adding that those with medical needs would be limited to emergency cases or people who have been treated in Taiwan, but have not completed their treatment.
The nation’s testing capacity would also be considered when gradually easing border controls, he added.
Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) presided over an interdepartmental meeting attended by agencies tasked with preventing the spread of COVID-19 and reviving sectors affected by the pandemic.
The nation has performed admirably in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus, but social activities are still restricted, while other countries are easing restrictions and the curve is flattening, the premier said.
Border controls would remain in place for the time being and would only be eased when other nations become “as safe as Taiwan,” Chen said at the meeting.
As people eagerly anticipate life returning to normal, the government is formulating guidelines and preparing to remove regulations, which would also involve issuing coupons in July to spur consumption, Su said.
Additional reporting by Sean Lin
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