Dramatic developments in the spread of COVID-19 in Taiwan in the past 10 days led to the government’s decision to cancel the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Hsinchu City, Minister of Transportation and Communication Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday.
The Executive Yuan canceled the flagship tourism event one day after Lin told reporters that the annual festival should proceed, despite a cluster COVID-19 infections at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital causing an increase in the number of domestic cases.
“Even though there has yet to be a massive community infection, the cluster infection at the hospital has come to a critical point, as it has begun to affect some residents in the community. It is possible that the disease could spread further. As such, we support and agree with the Hsinchu City Government’s decision to cancel the event, and will assist it in handling the aftermath,” Lin said on the sidelines of an event yesterday.
Photo courtesy of the New Taipei City Tourism and Travel Department via CNA
The ministry had a difficult time deciding whether to cancel the event because of the lanterns that were to be exhibited at the festival, as artists have spent considerable time and effort designing and creating them, he said.
The ministry would fulfill its contracts and allow the artists to complete their works, Lin said, adding that it would determine a different time and place to display them.
As the Central Epidemic Command Center has said that the disease situation in Taiwan would be on high alert until Thursday next week, Lin urged people to reduce nonessential activities and travel.
He also expressed the hope that the public would understand the government’s decisions to cancel large events.
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