The Freeway Bureau’s smartphone app, “Freeway 1968 (高速公路1968),” might continue to be used during holidays to warn people of crowds at tourist attractions if the public deems it helpful for stopping the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday.
The app, developed in-house to monitor freeway traffic and help drivers avoid congestion, was upgraded and used for the first time during last week’s International Workers’ Day holiday to monitor crowds at travel destinations.
The upgraded app was intended to help curb the outbreak, but some local officials said that it did not always accurately reflect the size of crowds at travel destinations, which might turn away potential visitors.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Mong-kai (洪孟楷) said yesterday at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Transportation Committee in Taipei that the ministry significantly improved the app’s functions, despite a chaotic launch.
Asked by Hung if the crowd alert function would still be used after the pandemic, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Huang Yu-lin (黃玉霖) said that the function was added on the instructions of the Central Epidemic Command Center and that it would not be available after the disease stops being a threat.
However, if the public considers it an essential function, the ministry would consider keeping it, he added.
Yesterday morning, the ministry meeting discussed a proposal by the Tourism Bureau that 72 tourist hotspots be removed from the list of destinations monitored by the app, after it received requests from local government officials.
The bureau has proposed that 31 additional tourist spots be monitored by the app, including Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area and Raohe Night Market (饒河夜市), as well as Qingshui Geothermal Park in Yilan County’s Datong Township (大同).
At the meeting, representatives from the Miaoli, Kinmen, Lienchiang and Penghu county governments did not comment on the list of the travel destinations currently monitored by the app.
The Tainan City Government, which had previously complained about the number of city hotspots being monitored, said that all of the Tainan tourist attractions should be removed from the list, while the Kaohsiung City Government said that it would turn in a list of local attractions to be monitored after holding a meeting later yesterday.
“Many local government officials think that they should not let their guard down regarding disease prevention. So, we will deliberate over which tourist attractions should be monitored, but we will consult professionals and not accept all of the proposals. The guiding principle is to develop tourism while preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said, who presided over the meeting.
CLEAR BEFORE LEAVING: Two baby boys and a woman in her 30s tested negative before departing for Japan, but tests taken after their arrival came back postive Three Taiwanese tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Japan earlier this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new imported case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that one of the three cases in Japan is a Taiwanese baby under the age of one, whose parents work in Japan. The infant came to Taiwan with his parents in January, and the parents paid for the family’s COVID-19 tests on Oct. 10 ahead of their planned return to Japan on Monday last week, he said. The boy and his
‘BACKED BY ENEMY’: CTi News is one of the few channels promoting unification, the New Party chairman said, while pro-Taiwan groups called it a propaganda outlet Pan-blue camp supporters yesterday lodged a protest at the National Communications Commission (NCC) against what they say is a possible move by the government to shut down CTi News, adding that politics should not interfere with freedom of the press. Protesters included representatives from the New Party, the Blue Sky Action Alliance, the 333 Political Party Alliance and other pan-blue groups. “We stand here today because CTi News is one of the few media outlets in Taiwan that is still willing to give groups supporting unification with China a voice. If the news channel is gone, there would only be
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Examples from South Korea and Japan show that 15 local COVID-19 infections could emerge in a short period if measures are not taken The Taipei City Government would cancel its New Year’s Eve Party and all large events if 15 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported in the city within a week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. Addressing the Taipei Cross Border E-Commerce Annual Convention, Ko said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to society, and that e-commerce is on a path of no return and would continue to grow. Many countries have not effectively controlled their COVID-19 outbreaks, and although Taiwan implements strict border controls and there have been few inbound passengers, the pandemic is unlikely to end soon,
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused CTi News of trying to mislead the public by publishing a half-page advert claiming that the party interfered in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) review of its application for a license renewal. CTi News is distorting the commission’s review process by painting it as a political conflict and turning it into a smear campaign against the DPP, party spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said. “The NCC is an independent body, which carries out reviews and makes decisions based on its members’ professional expertise, as well as regulations and legal requirements governing media operations,” Yen said. “We condemn