The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced that a level 2 COVID-19 alert would be extended to Feb. 7, and that tightened visitor restrictions at hospitals and long-term care facilities would be expanded to cover the whole nation, effective immediately.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that domestic restrictions would mostly remain the same, including the extended mask mandate that was implemented on Jan. 9.
As announced on Saturday, drinking and eating are banned on public transport, including buses, trains, boats and domestic flights, he said.
Photo: Chiang Ying-ying, AP
Business and public venues have been asked to strictly implement contact registration, temperature measurements, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and employee health management, as well as to immediately respond to confirmed cases, he said, adding that retail stores and markets must follow capacity limit guidelines and are banned from offering food samples.
Restaurants are also required to provide handwashing facilities or hand disinfectant, prohibit guests from raising a toast at each table and strictly implement contact registration, Chen said, adding that if they fail to comply with the rules after being fined and asked to improve, they would be banned from offering dine-in services.
Religious venues and gatherings should follow the tightened guidelines announced by the Ministry of the Interior on Saturday, which include strictly observing social distancing indoors and outdoors, he added.
For any activity that could attract more than 500 attendees at places of worship, organizers need to present an infection prevention plan that must be approved by their local government, the Ministry of the Interior has said.
After the CECC announced tightened visitor restrictions at hospital and residential long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan and Keelung, the rules were expanded to cover the whole nation from yesterday.
“Visiting hospitalized patients is prohibited at all hospitals nationwide, unless under exceptional conditions, and the ... visitors must have a negative result from an antigen or polymerase chain reaction test for COVID-19 within three days of the visit,” Chen said, adding that fully vaccinated visitors can undergo a government-funded test.
Before being hospitalized, people who are fully vaccinated can undergo a government-funded test for COVID-19, and each hospital patient can only have one accompanying caregiver, who is also eligible for a government-funded test if they are fully vaccinated, otherwise they must pay for their test weekly, he said.
All healthcare workers in high-risk hospital departments — emergency rooms, intensive care units or those that handle the treatment of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients — and who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose, should receive their booster before Tuesday next week, Chen said.
The general rule for visiting long-term care facilities is the same — no visiting is allowed, unless under special circumstances, he said.
New residents must provide a negative COVID-19 test result from within three days of moving in, and restrictions would be placed on them for the first 14 days based on the percentage of vaccinated staff members and residents at the facility, he added.
The US Department of State yesterday criticized Beijing over its misrepresentation of the US’ “one China” policy in the latest diplomatic salvo between the two countries over a bid by Taiwan to regain its observer status at the World Health Assembly, the decisionmaking body of the WHO. “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to publicly misrepresent U.S. policy,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter. “The United States does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle’ — we remain committed to our longstanding, bipartisan one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, Three Joint Communiques, and
FATES LINKED: The US president said that sanctions on Russia over Ukraine must exact a ‘long-term price,’ because otherwise ‘what signal does that send to China?’ US President Joe Biden yesterday vowed that US forces would defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack in his strongest statement to date on the issue. Beijing is already “flirting with danger,” Biden said following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, in which the pair agreed to monitor Chinese naval activity and joint Chinese-Russian exercises. Asked if Washington was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, he replied: “Yes.” “That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said. “We agreed with the ‘one China’ policy, we signed on to it ... but the idea that it can be
INFORMATION LEAKED: Documents from Xinjiang purportedly showed top leaders in Beijing calling for a forceful crackdown and even orders to shoot to kill Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday held a videoconference with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet as she visited Xinjiang during a mission overshadowed by fresh allegations of Uighur abuses and fears she is being used as a public relations tool. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been accused of detaining more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the region as part of a years-long crackdown the US and lawmakers in other Western nations have labeled a “genocide.” China denies the allegations. Bachelet was expected to visit the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on a six-day tour. The US
SUBTLE? While Biden said the US policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ on Taiwan had not changed, the group targeted China and Russia without naming them Leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the US yesterday warned against attempts to “change the status quo by force,” as concerns grow about whether China could invade Taiwan. The issue of Taiwan loomed over a leadership meeting in Tokyo of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) nations — the US, Japan, Australia and India — who stressed their determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China, although Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the group was not targeting any one country. The four leaders said in a joint statement issued after their talks