CECC Commander Victor Wang traveled to Kinmen on Dec. 13 to inspect the epidemic prevention measures, but dashed hopes that the mini three links would be restored by saying the central government has the final say.
CECC Commander Victor Wang listened as port affairs personnel explained the SOPs for people entering via the mini-three links. For example, inbound travelers with a fever or other symptoms will be separated and sent to a hospital. There are also policies for evacuation and transfers to Taiwan proper.
This is Kinmen's Shuitou Pier, which is Kinmen's transportation link with China. The mini-three links were suspended in February 2020 due to the pandemic and have not been restored. Wang traveled to Kinmen on Dec. 13 to inspect epidemic prevention measures. His first stop was Kinmen Hospital, the only hospital serving Kinmen, to learn more about the local medical treatment capacity and whether it is sufficient.
Victor Wang, Commander, Central Epidemic Command Center: “I focused on the number of beds and personnel available for severe cases and in the ICU, as well as whether evacuation mechanisms are smooth. Everything was discussed.”
The distance between Kinmen and Xiamen's Wutong Ferry Terminal is only 9.7 nautical miles and a ferry ride takes just half an hour. Many Taiwanese businesspersons and Chinese students made good use of this service in the past to go back and forth between the two sides. The mini-three links are currently suspended, and the number of airplane flights between China and Taiwan has been greatly reduced. Some businesspersons say tickets to return to Taiwan for the Lunar New Year are very expensive and hard to get. For example, a one-way direct flight from Xiamen to Kaohsiung costs NT$21,000. However, if the mini-three links were open, a ferry ticket from Xiamen to Kinmen plus a flight from Kinmen to Kaohsiung would only total NT$3,650.
Victor Wang, Commander, Central Epidemic Command Center: “With regards to whether any adjustments will be made in the future, that will depend on the actual situation in China, and right now the epidemic situation is worsening.”
The Kinmen County Government said it's ready for the resumption of transport services in terms of both epidemic prevention and transportation.
Yang Cheng-wu, Magistrate, Kinmen County: “(Quarantine) will be carried out based on the practices at all ports of entry and exit. We're also investing in the overall medical treatment and supporting needs. I believe everyone can see that the Kinmen County Government's on-site preparations are already extremely complete. ”
Kinmen County Magistrate-elect Chen Fu-hai and Legislator Chen Yu-jen traveled to Xiamen on Dec. 12 to discuss the resumption of the mini-three links. The Presidential Office said a decision will need to be based on the latest epidemic situation and a comprehensive assessment of the situation, so it hasn't made a decision yet.