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[Level 3 COVID Alert] Mayor Calls on Central Government to Speed up Dispatch of Vaccines

Mayor Ko and Deputy Mayor Huang at the press conferenceDuring the press conference on June 7, Mayor Ko Wen-je remarked that the city government is making plans to conduct large-scale vaccinations at facilities ranging from hospitals to major event venues. He called upon the central government to provide accurate updates on vaccine supplies and arrival dates to allow city hall to plan follow-ups as soon as possible.
 
The mayor pointed out that while Taiwan’s medical care standard remains above average when compared to nations around the globe, there are still many unreported COVID-19 patients in local communities. While positive cases are falling as shown by recent test results, we still identify quite a number of them on a daily basis. Since rapid tests unveil roughly 80% of the overall picture, Taipei saw a drop in the number of people testing positive over the past three days.
 
However, the mayor reminds the public that while outlooks appear promising, we have to remember that COVID cases have been reported across all of Taipei’s districts. Once we relax restrictions, the number will bounce back. Citing Tokyo as an example, he noted that people let down their guards once orders were lifted, forcing the Japanese government to declare another round of COVID state of emergency.
 
Ko also recalled that Taipei’s COVID-19 spread appears quite similar to the wave affecting Thailand. The Thai government closed down leisure and entertainment businesses 50 days before Taipei did, while markets and migrant worker dorms became hot zones for community spread. The only difference is that there hasn’t been a wave of contagion at prisons in Taiwan.
 
The current strategy of Taipei City Government is to maintain Level 3 COVID Alert all the way until vaccines become available. It has also made plans to set up vaccination centers at a range of facilities – from hospitals to large event venues. For hospitals, one of the requirements is a stand-alone area for vaccination which is separate from other areas. For large-scale venues, the Expo Dome is a top choice given the ease of access and available space.
 
To ensure that the Level 3 COVID Alert can be sustained, some of the demands of citizens must be attended to. Relaxing the restrictions on at-home babysitters is a way to satisfy the needs of working parents with toddlers, though measures such as reporting system and health monitoring mechanisms need to be in place. For the city’s frontline personnel such as cops, firefighters, and medical workers, the city government offers monthly subsidy of NT$8,000 for such childcare services. With class cancellation being extended through July 2, schools will have to replace physical final exams with online assessment. Graduation ceremonies are also called off.
 
Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun added that report cards and graduation certificates will be mailed to students. City-affiliated kindergartens, afterschool care centers, and afterschool care centers affiliated to cram schools will not charge parents for the month of June and carry out respective refunding if necessary. All school summer break activities are cancelled as well.