Taiwan tightens curbs after a surge in domestic COVID-19 cases

Taipei — Taiwan raises coronavirus alert levels in the capital Taipei and surrounding cities on Saturday, bringing curbs for two weeks, closing many venues and limiting rallies in the wake of 180 new domestic infections did.

The government wears masks outdoors for the first time to encourage work and study at home and close cinemas and entertainment venues, limiting family and friend gatherings to 5 indoors and 10 outdoors. It is supposed to be.

The Taipei government has already ordered the closure of bars, nightclubs, and similar places.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said the “level of risk” at certain hotspots, such as Taipei’s sandy Wanhua District, spurred the decision to raise alert levels.

“Only by doing this can we deal with and control the infection,” he told reporters.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je added that schools that educate should move online and urged people to stay home as much as possible.

“Don’t go out at home if you’re not wearing anything during this time. If you go out, wear a mask to reduce infections from water droplets,” said trained doctor Ko. I have.

A spokesman for President Tsai Ing-wen said he would reduce the number of “unnecessary meetings” and public events. Cheong Wa Dae is near Manhua.

Social media photos show that people are flocking to supermarkets to stock up on toilet paper and instant noodles.

After an increase in cases of local infection in Taipei, Taiwan on May 15, 2021, healthcare professionals are preparing to perform a COVID-19 rapid test on residents. (AnnWang / Reuters)

The government has said the island’s economic fundamentals remain good, but rising community infections have worried stock markets this week.

Deputy Treasury Minister Frank Huang said Reuters authorities would monitor market reactions on Monday and added that he did not rule out the government convening a meeting of the National Stability Fund that could be used to smooth out major volatility.

Investors should act rationally, he said, noting that the island’s significant foreign trade is not the only sector affected by curbs such as tourism.

The new regulations do not apply to Hsinchu chip manufacturing hubs, are unlikely to affect semiconductor exports, and some auto factories are closed due to global shortages.

Chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd said it is closely monitoring the situation, reducing “non-essential” rallies and activities, and reducing the movement of people between various chip fabs.

In Taiwan, Moderna Inc and Astra Zeneca Plc have been ordered for millions of vaccinations, but due to global shortages and low vaccination rates, very few vaccines have arrived from the latter.

More vaccines will arrive next month, Tsai said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Taiwan has reported less than 1,500 cases out of a population of about 24 million, most of which are imported from abroad, but the recent increase in community infections has surprised residents. I am.

The island has never been completely closed, and despite pandemics in many other parts of the world, the people continue to live almost normally.

Ben Blanchard and Llanca Law