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Taiwan to ease Covid-19 restrictions as cases drop

TAIPEI: Taiwan will ease restrictions on Covid-19 next week, although some of them will remain in place, the government said on Friday, with rapidly falling cases giving authorities confidence in further lowering the warning level.

Taiwan imposed restrictions on gatherings, including shutting down entertainment venues and restricting take-out restaurants to restaurants, in mid-May following a spike in domestic affairs after months of absence or few non-import incidents.

While some of these restrictions have been eased this month, a so-called Level 3 Alert is in effect and is due to end on July 26th.

Premier Su Tseng-chang said the alert would be lowered to level 2 from Tuesday.

“The internal epidemic has gradually stabilized and is moving in the right direction,” Su said. “Citizens must still strictly follow all pandemic prevention guidelines to maintain this hard-earned achievement after the restrictions are lifted.”

Meetings of up to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors are allowed, as well as dining in restaurants with social distancing.

However, some restrictions will remain, including wearing masks both inside and out. Some entertainment venues, including bars and swimming pools, will be closed.

“We will stay alert and do not rule out the possibility of changing the level of anxiety at any time,” Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told reporters.

Taiwan’s decision differs from that of many of its regional neighbors such as Thailand and Indonesia, where infection, largely attributable to the spread of the Delta variant, is spiraling, leading to even tighter restrictions.

Taiwan has never been completely isolated, although its borders remain largely closed, with the exception of citizens and foreign residence card holders.

Taiwan, whose domestic outbreak has always been relatively small, has recorded 15,535 infections and 784 deaths since the start of the pandemic. – Reuters

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