Updated: September 7, 2021
Taiwan has started to see infections pop up in communities without a clear source. To keep people safer from COVID-19, health officials have published new guidelines for residential communities. They stipulate the use of masks and sanitizer in communal areas and require leisure areas to be cordoned off. Officials have also restricted gatherings and festivals. Any event attracting more than 1,000 people must complete a COVID-19 risk assessment.A hand sanitizer dispenser sits at the community’s welcome desk, ready for everyone who comes in the door.The Central Epidemic Command Center has published new community management guidelines. Community managers must provide health gear such as masks to workers. Hand sanitizer must be provided at entrances, and children’s play areas or multi-use leisure areas must be closed.Lu Chung-kuangCommunity officialIn January our community had renovations done, so it was closed then, the play area, ball court and such like. We told the community that there was no entry allowed.Some communities moved into epidemic prevention gear super early, shutting play areas before the Lunar New Year. Cleaners have increased the frequency of their rounds, scrubbing each surface twice a day. They’re also reminding residents that it’s better not to talk in enclosed spaces like elevators, and to wash their hands after touching the buttons.A notice is posted on the community office: events for the elderly, like KTV and dinner evenings, are all canceled. Officials now recommend making a risk assessment before any kind of communal gathering. Anyone pregnant or with a chronic illness should stay away.Wen Mei-chuJinhua borough headWe’ve paused use of the karaoke system, the reading area, and even the loungers, because they have armrests. Our most important job each day is to talk to the building managers and see if they need any resources.Meanwhile, the chances of attending a big public event in the coming months are very slim. February saw the International Comics and Animation Festival in Taipei, attracting 400,000 anime and manga devotees over five days. Everyone was required to wear a mask in the venue and all health measures possible were in place. But a month later, the outbreak is only getting worse.Chen Shih-chungCentral Epidemic Command CenterThe World Health Organization has advised us to make 1,000 people the cut-off point between a large and small event. The bigger the event, the more stringent the risk assessment will need to be. For example the ventilation and crowding in the venue: there’ll need to be at least a meter of space between each person.Many upcoming concerts may have to be postponed. The Ministry of Culture convened a special task group to consider the Taipei International Book Exhibition, which is postponed until May. They’ll decide if it’s still going ahead by the end of March, depending on how the situation unfolds. In the face of the health risks, even the most eagerly awaited events may have to take a backseat.