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Taiwan cancels more events as local COVID-19 cases rise

Reuters logo Reuters 20/01/2021
a group of people wearing costumes: Soldiers prepare to spray disinfectant at the Taoyuan General Hospital in Taoyuan © Reuters/ANN WANG Soldiers prepare to spray disinfectant at the Taoyuan General Hospital in Taoyuan

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan has canceled or postponed more large-scale events after a rare outbreak of domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases connected to a hospital, where the military has been sent to help with disinfection.

a group of people wearing costumes: Soldiers prepare to spray disinfectant at the Taoyuan General Hospital in Taoyuan © Reuters/ANN WANG Soldiers prepare to spray disinfectant at the Taoyuan General Hospital in Taoyuan

Taiwan, which has kept the pandemic well under control thanks to early and effective prevention methods, has been rattled by new domestic transmissions, first in December and now in a hospital in the northern city of Taoyuan.

Until December, the island had not reported any local transmissions since April; all reported cases during that time were imported, which account for the vast majority of Taiwan's 868 infections.

After the government's decision on Tuesday to call off main celebrations for the Taiwan Lantern Festival, an annual celebration to mark the Lunar New Year next month, more cities have followed suit, including Kaohsiung and Taipei.

a group of people standing in front of a building: Soldiers prepare to spray disinfectant outside the Taoyuan General Hospital in Taoyuan © Reuters/ANN WANG Soldiers prepare to spray disinfectant outside the Taoyuan General Hospital in Taoyuan

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Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je told reporters on Wednesday that the city was postponing the city's lantern festival events and cancelling the customary Lunar New Year street market in the fashionable Dihua Street area.

The presidential office said late Tuesday that it would not host its Lunar New Year Reception, and that it would coordinate with the health authorities about whether President Tsai Ing-wen might visit temples during the holiday, as she would normally.

a man wearing a mask: Soldiers prepare to spray disinfectant at the Taoyuan General Hospital in Taoyuan © Reuters/ANN WANG Soldiers prepare to spray disinfectant at the Taoyuan General Hospital in Taoyuan

The government has quarantined and tested hundreds of people connected to the outbreak at the hospital in Taoyuan, traced to a doctor infected while treating a COVID-19 patient.

a group of people that are standing in the snow: Soldiers prepare to spray disinfectant at the Taoyuan General Hospital in Taoyuan © Reuters/ANN WANG Soldiers prepare to spray disinfectant at the Taoyuan General Hospital in Taoyuan

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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