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Deputy Mayor Encourages the Public to Conduct Tomb-Sweeping Rituals Online

Deputy Mayor Huang and city officials Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-Shan hosted the 2019 COVID-19 outbreak response team meeting on the afternoon of March 9, where she also received a media interview. Concerning outbreak prevention measures implemented for the Qingming Festival, she commented that the city government encourages people to conduct tomb-sweeping rituals online. However, for those who must see their families during the Qingming Festival, the number of passengers aboard buses bound for columbaria and cemeteries will be limited and the traffic will also be diverted. Although the measures will increase the time needed to perform tomb-sweeping rituals, everyone is urged to remain patient for the sake of safety amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to Huang, in regards to the Taipei City Government implementing the work from home policy on a trial basis, colleagues from the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission and Department of Personnel have already begun to work from home. After a trial period of 3 days, an assessment will be carried out to determine areas that require adjusting. Huang commented that Mayor Ko has issued several instructions pertaining to the work from home policy because he believes the policy should be implemented more efficiently.

The current approach to the trial run is to let employees use their own equipment at home to work, and for those who do not have adequately configured equipment, the city government will issue them with a laptop. Nonetheless, Ko feels that the work from home policy should be implemented more efficiently as the city government will not have enough laptops for employees to take home. Since the optimal results have not been achieved, there is still room for improvement.

Huang indicated that backup offices for the city government’s various departments have been located, and each department is responsible for devising its contingency plan. In addition, the response team meeting convened this morning was to address minor adjustments needed for routine operations. Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC) will be installing body temperature measuring instruments at MRT stations by mid-March, passengers with a fever of more than 38 degrees Celsius will be advised to seek medical attention immediately. The city government also hopes that the central government can authorize municipal governments to stop passengers with fever from entering public transit systems; hence, approval must be obtained from the central government in this regard.

The deputy mayor said that in relation to community outbreak prevention, disaster relief volunteers, and village chiefs and secretaries, as well as the Department of Civil Affairs, Fire Department and Department of Health, have formed community outbreak prevention taskforces to assist communities, apartment buildings, and especially homeowners’ associations in outbreak prevention efforts. Disaster relief volunteers will enter over 8,000 apartment buildings to help work allocation, conduct courses, instructions, and land assistance. Meanwhile, community-related activities are also being adjusted as we speak.

She elaborated that the policy on indoor activities involving more than 300 participants issued by the city government applies to activities organized or co-organized by the Taipei City Government, whereas activities organized by the private sector are given outbreak prevention recommendations rather than restrictions. Some private organizations have raised concerns about the need for the government’s approval to organize events with more than 300 participants, Huang clarified that the restriction only applies to Taipei City Government’s activities.