People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases.
In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors.
Chen yesterday added that the government would fine those who do not wear masks on public transportation after being asked to, citing the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法).
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
Service personnel at Taiwan Railways Administration and High-Speed Rail stations from Tuesday have been directing people to convenience stores to buy masks if they do not have one, said Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), who is also deputy head of the center.
Fines on local buses and MRT systems would be handled by local governments, while those on nationwide systems would be managed by the transportation ministry, Chen Tsung-yen said.
The center would ask the transportation ministry to negotiate with local governments over which party is to be responsible for fines issued on buses that operate across municipalities, he said.
Later yesterday, the Taipei City Government said in a news release that it would follow the center’s instruction to implement the policy immediately.
Meanwhile, the CECC yesterday reported nine additional cases of COVID-19 — seven imported and two locally transmitted — bringing the nation’s total to 348.
The imported cases, five women and two men, are all Taiwanese who had traveled to Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Thailand, the UK or the US before returning to Taiwan between March 14 and Wednesday, CECC data showed.
One of the two locally transmitted cases was No. 343, a woman in her 60s who developed symptoms on March 20 after her husband on March 17 returned from the US, Chen Shih-chung said.
The CECC would test her husband for the virus to clarify the transmission path, he said.
Case No. 347 is a woman in her 40s who had contact with case No. 336, a female security guard for an apartment complex in northern Taiwan whose case was reported on Thursday, the data showed.
The security guard transmitted the virus to the woman, a resident in the complex, possibly because the two had chatted without wearing masks, Chen Shih-chung said.
It might not be necessary to reveal the location of the residential complex, as the CECC has all the footage from its surveillance cameras, which helped clarify the guard’s contact history, he added.
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