Taiwan to make wearing masks on public transport compulsory

The measures are aimed at boosting public health ahead of the Qing Ming Festival.

Matthias Ang | April 01, 2020, 09:20 PM

Taiwan will make the wearing of masks compulsory on its trains and buses to help fight the spread of Covid-19, Taiwan News reported.

Compulsory mask measure comes ahead of Qing Ming Festival

The announcement was made by the self-ruled island's Minister of Transportation and Communications, Lin Chia-lung, on Mar. 31.

He stated that all commuters on the island's inter-city buses and trains must wear masks.

In addition, local city governments will also be implementing the same requirement for city buses and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system in the upcoming days.

Taiwan Today reported that the measures are aimed at boosting public health ahead of the Qing Ming Festival, which will begin on Apr. 2 and last for four days.

Temperature checks to be conducted at train stations and post offices

Taiwanese media Central News Agency (CNA) reported that temperature checks will also be carried out at multiple railway stations and post offices.

This measure has since been rolled out at 12 High-Speed Rail stations, 239 stations under the Taiwan Railway Administration, 1,298 post offices, and bus transfer stations.

Lin was quoted by Taiwan News as stating that should any passengers be found to have a forehead temperature of 37.5 degrees or an ear temperature of 38 degrees, they will not be allowed to board public transport.

Containment strategy has been fuelled by scepticism towards China

Taiwan has reported 329 cases of Covid-19 and five deaths.

The country's containment strategy was initially fuelled by scepticism towards the information coming out of China, which led it to become more "self-reliant" in making its own assessment about the potential threats of new diseases.

It has also been excluded from WHO meetings, which could have been a factor in placing the country on high alert.

Before China confirmed human-to-human transmission on Jan. 20, Taiwan had already been screening arrivals from Wuhan since the end of December.

On Jan. 20, it activated the Central Epidemic Command Centre — a facility originally set up following the outbreak of SARS in 2003 — which coordinated the government’s response to the outbreak.

The island subsequently identified its first Covid-19 case on Jan. 21.

Top image from 台北捷運 Facebook