While New Year’s Eve parties in most counties and cities around Taiwan will have been cancelled after a returnee from the UK tested positive with what the media has been touting as a ‘mutant’ strain of COVID-19, Taipei City’s New Year’s Eve party will go ahead, Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) announced today, December 31.
New Year’s events around the country were cancelled one by one yesterday, with a series of announcements from municipal governments, many of whom decided to broadcast concerts and fireworks displays via online platforms.
However, Taipei City Mayor, Ko Wen-je, withheld his announcement until this morning.
Mayor Ko, a prominent surgeon before he ran for mayor, announced today that the party will go ahead with the maximum number of participants allowed into City Hall Plaza reduced from 80,000 to 40,000.
Ko explained that Taiwan has no evidence of community infection, and we should not be defeated by irrational fears.
When asked by a member of the media if he wasn’t taking risks to garner votes, Ko replied: “While ‘they’ always think of politics, we still use scientific data to make judgements.”
“Is there evidence of community infection in Taiwan now?” No.” Every day, during peak commuter hours, Taipei Metro trains are filled to more than 90% capacity, Ko pointed out.
Taipei City Hall Plaza will open to the public at 3:00 pm, Ko said.
People attending are required to wear face masks, have their temperature taken, register their names and ID numbers, and sanitize their hands at entry checkpoints.
While previous years have seen crowds of up to 115,000 in the plaza, up to 500,000 have viewed the fireworks show from various vantage points. Restrictions have not been announced for other areas, Taiwan’s Central News Agency’s Focus News reported.
Cover picture: by Sinchen.Lin licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0
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