The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged people to continue practicing personal preventive measures against COVID-19 after large crowds gathered at tourist attractions on the first two days of the four-day Mid-Autumn Festival long weekend, raising concerns over the risk of infection.
It is the first long weekend since a nationwide COVID-19 alert was downgraded to level 2, and images of scenic spots crowded with visitors were posted to Facebook and reported by local media.
An image posted to a Facebook group showed visitors packed along a stretch of boardwalk in the Gaomei Wetlands (高美濕地) in Taichung on Sunday.
The local police department estimated that about 3,500 visitors and about 1,200 vehicles were in the area that day, local Chinese-language media reported.
The Taichung Agriculture Bureau yesterday said that only up to 691 visitors are normally allowed on the boardwalk during a level 2 alert, but visitors began flooding the trail from about 4pm and an electronic people counter malfunctioned.
Crowd control in the scenic area was conducted manually yesterday and the police department dispatched officers to help control the flow of visitors, the bureau said.
The self-management committee of Kenting Main Street (墾丁大街) in Pingtung County reported that the street, known for its night market, was visited by at least 8,000 people each night during the first two days of the holiday.
The Pingtung County Government yesterday said it has asked the local police department and the committee to start implementing crowd control measures earlier, from 6:30pm, and to have more personnel reminding visitors to practice personal preventive measures.
Asked about the issue, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, yesterday said: “Of course, everyone is inevitably worried about the crowded scenes.”
He said COVID-19 restrictions are being gradually eased and newly reported cases are still considered under control, adding that the crowded scenes are part of the process of society returning to normal.
“However, we still urge people to wear a mask at all times, practice social distancing and frequently wash their hands,” Chen added.
Additional reporting by CNA
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