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Taiwan passes COVID-19 relief act

A bill aimed at mitigating any impact from a COVID-19 outbreak was signed into law by President Tsai Ing-wen Feb. 25 at the Presidential Office in Taipei City, reaffirming the government’s commitment to ensuring public health while maintaining social and economic stability.

At the signing ceremony, Tsai said the legislation is testament to the efficiency of Taiwan’s democratic system as well as smart government planning. She also thanked opposition parties for cooperating in the law’s smooth passage through the Legislature.

Effective retrospectively from Jan. 15 and running through June 30, 2021, the relief act comprises 18 articles providing compensation, subsidies and tax breaks for businesses, individuals, medical institutions, schools and other organizations affected by COVID-19. It also offers rewards for those who make significant contributions to outbreak prevention and outlines punishments for violating disease-related regulations.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the act is a legal foundation for the government to issue responsive epidemic-fighting decrees or measures, such as expropriating private facilities and materials when necessary.

The MOHW said a special budget of NT$60 billion (US$1.97 billion) has been set aside for the act and is pending review by the Legislature.

Statistics by the Central Epidemic Command Center under the MOHW’s Centers for Disease Control reveal 32 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Taiwan as of Feb. 26, with one death. A total of 78,064 cases have been identified in China and 2,707 in 39 other countries and territories.