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Focus of Taipei City–New Taipei City Forum Placed on Outbreak Prevention

Deputy Mayor Huang and city officials Taipei City Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-Shan said during a press media interview on March 23 that the city government will provide New Taipei City with the SOPs for improving the quality of outbreak prevention measures, and the Taipei City–New Taipei City Forum will also discuss how both cities can support each other in terms of quarantine hotels, quarantine vehicles, and commodity-related resources.

A journalist asked how Taipei City and New Taipei City will collaborate at the Taipei City–New Taipei City Forum on March 26 in regard to outbreak prevention, to which Huang replied that the forum-related proposals presented to Mayor Ko Wen-Je during the meeting today were already discussed in the previous meeting. The 10 proposals are mainly concerned with sharing Taipei City’s SOPs in improving the quality of outbreak prevention measures with New Taipei City, including those designed for hotels. Since Taipei City possesses comprehensive SOPs for quarantine hotels, both cities can cooperate and support each other. Also, Taipei City Government has implemented the disaster relief volunteer outbreak prevention program, and it will also be shared with the New Taipei City Government to share teaching materials and applications. Both cities are equipped with abundant outbreak prevention-related resources, such as the city government’s quarantine vehicle support system; currently, quarantine taxis and rehabilitation buses are used in Taipei City and New Taipei City respectively. In the future, both systems can be consolidated to support each other. Since both cities have many MRT passengers, control measures implemented at MRT stations must also be consistent.

The deputy mayor mentioned that collaborations have been made to bolster outbreak prevention in schools. As we all know, some students live in Taipei City but travel to New Taipei City for school; currently, each city is only privy to its information, and it is hoped the central government can consolidate the information so that information can be shared between both cities in order to ascertain a complete overview of the outbreak situation in both cities and minimize any discrepancies. Taipei City is also recruiting retired medical professionals, so perhaps both cities can support each other in the future; additionally, if commodity-related resource problems should arise, wholesale markets in both cities will also be able to back each other up.

Another journalist asked if worse comes to worst and lockdown is required, is there an SOP in place that locks down only Taipei City? Deputy Mayor Huang replied that lockdown will only be enforced when the central government is unable to contain the outbreak, and it is also beyond the capabilities of the local government. When a city is in lockdown, no one can leave their homes and all the stores will be closed so there is no need to devise an SOP to deal with the situation. Taipei City is currently in the imported case stage, so there is no need to panic. A journalist asked if the city government will conduct a simulation, to which Huang replied that the city government will not conduct a simulation to avoid creating panic. If a lockdown simulation is carried out, people will become more afraid, so it is important to remain pragmatic and take small steps forward. A lockdown will only be implemented under the direct orders of the central government.

A reporter raised a question as to whether there are city hall employees under home quarantine and whether their details will be made public if they become confirmed cases. For instance, when the Environmental Protection Administration did not publish the details of its infected employee today, it caused public panic. The deputy mayor replied that details pertaining to those under home quarantine and home isolation have always been kept confidential, hence some of the city hall employees may be under home quarantine because they have traveled overseas, but the confidential information cannot be disclosed, not to mention the details of those under home isolation.

Another reporter asked if the fourth quarantine hotel is at full capacity. Huang replied that, of the 20 new rooms in the quarantine hotels, 12 of them have been booked and 8 remain unoccupied. A 5th quarantine hotel will be opened to continue increasing the number of rooms available.