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Homeland Security

Taipei holds COVID-19 lockdown drill

ROC Central News Agency

05/30/2021 05:40 PM

Taipei, May 30 (CNA) Taipei staged an exercise Sunday to test its preparedness in the event that the current national COVID-19 alert is upgraded to Level 4, which would mean a full lockdown.

Speaking before the start of the tabletop exercise, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said the drills were being held so that the city would be prepared for a worst-case scenario in which domestic COVID-19 transmissions continue to expand and the current Level 3 alert has to be raised.

"We have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best," he said. "The major goal of the exercise is to anticipate all the potential problems in a full lockdown and come up with solutions so we can be prepared."

Taiwan has been under a Level 3 alert since May 19, requiring people to wear masks outside their homes, banning gatherings of more than four people indoors and more than nine outdoors, and closing all schools, until June 14.

A Level 4 alert would mean a total lockdown, with all public events canceled -- apart from essential services, law enforcement, medical and government services -- and all in-person work and classes suspended.

Ko noted that as of Saturday, 99 people in Taiwan had died of COVID-19, exceeding the number during the SARS outbreak in 2003, which was 73.

Taipei alone has recorded more than 2,500 domestic COVID-19 cases, the mayor said, adding that the statistics are an indication of the severity of the pandemic in the capital city.

While the curve for domestic infections in Taipei has flattened, it is imperative to hold the lockdown drill, as such a move may become necessary, he said.

Ko said he was not sure that Taipei residents would maintain their current high level of self-discipline for another two or three months without a government-imposed lockdown.

According to the city government, Sunday's exercise simulated a total lockdown in Taipei, including the closure of all non-essential businesses, except for 21,000 restaurants, bakeries, vegetable shops, supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations.

The city government said 40 wet markets would also be allowed to remain open, but with time restrictions. At all business that are allowed to continue operations, the flow of people will be regulated by police, the city government said.

In the event of a full lockdown, no trains on the Taiwan High Speed Rail or Taiwan Railways Administration systems will be permitted to stop in Taipei, the city government said.

It said the routes of Taipei buses and MRT trains will be limited to within the city, and YouBike services will be suspended, should the city impose a Level 4 alert.

Taipei will also close its borders with other municipalities, including its highway exits, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, if it goes into full lockdown, the city government said.

(By Chen Yu-ting and Joseph Yeh)


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