The Taipei City Government yesterday conducted a simulation for a level 4 lockdown, which would close all nonessential businesses and bar entrance into the city.
The death toll from COVID-19 in Taiwan has surpassed that of SARS in a scene unfathomable at this time last year, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said.
There is evidence that the situation has stabilized over the past three days, as ambulances are no longer being turned away from hospitals due to a lack of beds, he said.
However, if the situation continues, “quantitative changes would create qualitative ones,” Ko said, asking what would happen if the city must lock down for months or if cases surge once more.
Therefore, the city must “plan for the worst to be best prepared,” he added.
In the simulation, participants led by Ko practiced mobilizing the city government to manage all levels of response with the goal of identifying problematic areas.
The first step would be commanding the Taipei Epidemic Command Center to remain open around the clock, while each administrative district would be instructed to set up disaster response centers, the city government said.
The city would also coordinate closely with the governments of Keelung, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, it said.
All schools and offices would be closed, and no one would be allowed to go outside except to buy food or seek medical treatment, or to perform other necessary or official duties, it added.
In addition, roadblocks would be erected to restrict movement between regions, the city said.
Seventy-one control points would be set up on access roads and highway ramps to restrict the flow of private vehicles into the city, while trains would not stop at stations within Taipei, it said.
All mass transit services would only operate within city limits, meaning that MRT service between Taipei and New Taipei City would be suspended, the city government said.
The YouBike service would also be suspended, it added.
Police would be dispatched for crowd control at markets, which would be instructed to restrict sales of certain items if supply becomes limited, it said.
About 21,000 essential businesses would be allowed to operate, including restaurants, bakeries, fruit and vegetable vendors, gas stations and supermarkets, it said.
Traditional markets would operate with limited hours, it added.
As for medical supplies, the city said it would seek assistance from the Ministry of Health and Welfare to establish backup hospitals and evaluate the potential of converting regional hospitals into specialized COVID-19 facilities.
It would also aim to provide 1,400 quarantine hotel rooms, it said.
If fatalities surpass the city’s daily cremation capacity of 224 bodies, temporary morgues could be established to store up to 200 bodies, it added.
Finally, the Taipei City Government said it would request assistance from the 6th Army Command 33rd Chemical Corps to sanitize the city, while 1,270 troops from the military’s disaster relief force could be deployed initially.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
PIVOTAL ROLE: Taiwan’s importance in the global chip supply chain can be bolstered by domestic equipment manufacturing, President Tsai Ing-wen said Efforts must be made to better secure Taiwan’s place in the global supply chain by localizing production of equipment and facilities used by the semiconductor industry, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. Tsai discussed the issue during a meeting with representatives from the Taiwan Electronic Equipment Industry Association at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Product shortages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — particularly of automotive chips — highlighted the pivotal role of Taiwan in the global supply chain, she said. Tsai thanked the association for cooperating with the government on the shared goal of localizing production of important semiconductor industry equipment.
‘NEW YEAR GIFT’: While the MAC called the song propaganda, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that it addressed the homesickness of ‘Taiwanese compatriots’ A pro-unification pop song aired on Chinese television earlier this month would only further sour Taiwanese sentiment toward China, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said on Wednesday. The music video for We Sing the Same Song (我們同唱一首歌), which aired on China Central Television, features Chinese artists performing alongside Taiwanese singers Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰), Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) and Chen Li-nong (陳立農). The lyrics were reportedly written by Taiwanese lyricist Vincent Fang (方文山), known for his collaborations with Jay Chou (周杰倫), to music composed by a Chinese musician. Sung in Chinese and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), the song is about three Taiwanese siblings who
SEPARATE CASE? A woman tested positive when she went with her daughter to be tested, because her daughter had taken the same bus to school as a steakhouse worker The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 10 local COVID-19 cases, six of whom had visited a steakhouse in Taoyuan where an infection cluster has been reported. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that of the 10 local infections, one case — No. 17,928 — is a Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport disease prevention staffer who works in the area where inbound travelers collect their saliva for a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and sometimes at the fever screening station. The staffer had tested negative in a PCR test on Jan. 9 and