The Taipei City Government has engaged in careful, meticulous planning for the staging of the 2021 Taipei Lantern Festival, originally scheduled to run from February 26 to March 7. During the event lead-up an epidemic prevention plan has been formulated in response to the ongoing epidemic situation. Now, taking into consideration the recent upsurge, and under the premise of placing priority on epidemic prevention, on Jan. 20 a postponement of the 2021 Taipei Lantern Festival has been announced. Follow-on decisions will be dependent on the unfolding epidemic situation.
On Jan. 19, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that since such gatherings are usually densely crowded, the prolonged exposure and close contact presents a high risk of transmission, and in the event of a suspected individual case or group incident this will increase epidemic prevention difficulties. The organizer of each such gathering must strictly follow the CECC’s “COVID-19 (Wuhan Pneumonia) Response Guidelines: Public Meetings,” engaging in proper assessment of the necessity of staging events and the degree of related risks. If the decision is made to proceed with an event, a comprehensive epidemic prevention plan must be drawn up, and all relevant preparations and measures for epidemic prevention must be implemented. If it is not possible to strictly implement a comprehensive risk assessment before and event, and to plan complete epidemic prevention measures, the CECC strongly recommends canceling or postponing the event.
Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je has stated that the Taipei City Government effectively carried out control measures for the recent New Year’s Eve Countdown Party activities. However, the Taipei Lantern Festival is spread out over 10 days, and the on-site venue conditions are completely different. In Taipei City’s Lantern Festival epidemic preparedness plan, different phases of prevention preparations are set forth in accordance with varying epidemic development conditions. Taking into account the recent upsurge in the severity of the epidemic, the possible cluster risk posed by the close contact involved in a large-scale event, and uncertainties concerning the spread of the virus, it was decided to postpone the 2021 Taipei Lantern Festival.
In view of the central government’s renewed emphasis on its epidemic prevention guidelines for public gatherings, and its recommendation that large-scale events be cancelled, the Taipei City Government will continue to adhere to the CECC’s instructions in the planning of all activities, and the 2021 Taipei Lantern Festival is being postponed under the premise of prioritizing epidemic prevention. The various works created by artists for the festival will be presented to the public in an appropriate manner at a later time.