The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged people who have respiratory symptoms to seek medical attention and get tested for COVID-19, while also outlining disease prevention measures for the Tomb Sweeping Day four-day holiday.
After domestic COVID-19 cases with unknown infection sources were reported in different cities and counties in the past few days, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the infection risk in local communities has increased, so the public should remain highly vigilant.
The COVID-19 alert level does not have to be raised, as previous alert levels are no longer applicable because the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is much more contagious, but measures to control its spread are still needed, Chen said.
He urged people to get tested for COVID-19 if they develop symptoms, especially if they might have been exposed to confirmed cases.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is CECC spokesman, said the number of contracted clinics or public health centers where government-funded rapid test kits are offered had been increased from 272 to 540 as of Saturday.
He said a map showing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test stations could be found on the CDC’s Web site at https://reurl.cc/QjM9bM, while clinics and public health centers with government-funded rapid test kits could be found at https://reurl.cc/k765gr.
People can also purchase test kits at pharmacies, medical device and convenience stores, he said, adding that they should make sure the product is approved and has not expired, and follow the instructions carefully.
Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), who is deputy head of the CECC, said as the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday starts on Saturday, the center is encouraging people to arrange their tomb sweeping and worshiping events earlier in the holiday to avoid overcrowding.
He said local governments have set entry, exit and crowd capacity limits for columbaria, worshiping events to be held outdoors, as well as other disease prevention measures, so people should check the regulations in the city or county they are visiting in advance.
Chen Tsung-yen said the rules for religious venues and gatherings would remain the same, including submitting a COVID-19 safety plan before holding an event with more than 500 people and wearing a mask at all times.
As the often-crowded Matsu pilgrimages are held at this time of year, he said after discussions with local governments, it has been decided to prohibit crawling underneath the palanquin carrying Matsu or grabbing the palanquin.
“Participants of pilgrimages are required to have received a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine,” he said, adding that organizers would ask attendees to show their vaccination record before they would be allowed to participate in an event.
Distributing food would be prohibited and organizers should provide spacious rest areas for attendees, he said, adding that organizers are being encouraged to provide live online broadcasts so people can join the event at home.
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