Sunday marked the second consecutive day with zero new local cases of COVID. On top of that, in the past week, there were only four new local cases altogether. Health minister Chen Shih-chung said Sunday that community infections are now under control, and that the CECC will ease restrictions if the low numbers can be sustained. What most people would like to know is whether mask-wearing will still be required. Let''s hear from the minister himself.

Chen Shih-chung

CECC commander

I think you would be missing the point if you say that we can do without masks altogether, but when we talk specifics, it may not be necessary to wear masks in some places, such as the outdoors. But when you’re indoors, in confined spaces, and meet people you don’t know, then I think masks should be worn.

Lee Ping-ing

CECC specialist advisory panel member

The vaccination coverage rate must be very high. If local cases continue to be mild, if viral infections have tapered off, then we won’t have to wear masks as often. As for getting rid of masks altogether, we may still have to monitor the situation for a few more months.

Meanwhile, Slovakia''s donation of 160,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived just after 6 a.m. on Sunday. The shipment, together with an earlier donation of 500,000 doses from Japan, will be prioritized for citizens above the age of 52 waiting for their second shot. This round of vaccinations is scheduled for Oct. 3. On the same day, administering of the first dose of the BNT vaccine will begin for individuals under 40 in the ninth priority group, and all individuals under the age of 64.