Travellers commuting via trains and intercity buses in Taiwan are now required to wear masks, on top of undergoing temperature screening at stations and airports.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung told reporters on 31 Mar that those taking Taiwan High-Speed Rail trains (THSR), Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) trains, and buses should put on face masks.
Lin reminded travellers to observe strict protocols during Qingming to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Staff members will be using infrared sensors and temperature guns to check the temperatures of travellers at 12 THSR stations, 239 TRA stations, 1,298 post offices, airports, ports, freeway service areas, and bus transfer stations, Focus Taiwan reported.
Lin stressed that travellers found to have a forehead temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or an ear temperature of 38 degrees will be barred from boarding public transport.
Similar mask requirements will be rolled out by local city administrations on Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and city buses in the coming days, he added.
The new rule, which took effect on Wed (1 Apr), was made ahead of the Qingming Festival scheduled to take place today.
The Qingming Festival, or the “Tomb-Sweeping Holiday”, is a traditional Chinese celebration in which Taiwanese families pay homage to their ancestors. During the holiday, family members will travel to rural or mountainous areas to visit the columbarium of the said ancestors to recite prayers and present offerings that may benefit the deceased in the afterlife.
Taiwan’s Interior Ministry has previously urged people who store the urns of their ancestors in columbaria or who have given their diseased family members natural burials to conduct tomb-sweeping rituals virtually to prevent possible clusters of viral infection through people crowding in columbaria or cemeteries for hours, Taiwan News reported.
Several city governments have allowed people to honour their ancestors via designated websites, where they can leave messages and even offer virtual flowers, fruit, and offerings, according to the Interior Ministry.