The recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Northern Taiwan has impacted the daily operations of government agencies, especially those located in Taipei and New Taipei City, the current pandemic hotspots. In response to the spike in cases since Friday, May 14, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has declared that Taiwan is undergoing level 3 pandemic alert measures until May 28.
To comply with those guidelines outlined by the CDC and support the pandemic prevention efforts, both the Judicial Yuan and the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) have disclosed changes in their daily operations and services.
As part of their pandemic prevention responses, the Judicial Yuan outlined a few primary measures:
- All court hearings are postponed from May 15 to May 28 unless cases are time-sensitive, urgent, or necessary.
- Other services such as petitions and consultations should be done via phone calls, snail mails, and e-mails.
- All evaluations of case handling deadlines are paused until July 15.
- Pandemic prevention of court personnel: the courts will enforce crowd control by ensuring that personnel entering the courts will need to use an SMS contact tracing service and have their temperature checked, hands sanitized, and masks worn at all times.
- Environmental measures including regular disinfection of surfaces and maintaining sufficient circulation throughout the courts are implemented. Court personnel should also maintain social distance or use dividers wherever appropriate.
- Under the circumstances that hearings need to continue, they should shift online when possible by way of remote hearing and examination of witnesses and e-docket system. During in-person court sessions, social distancing and dividers should be mployed.
- Closure of non-essential services in the courts including restaurants, postal services, and bank services.
The TIPO also confirmed on May 18 that while services will continue as usual, the office will limit the number of personnel in the office through measures such as remote working and shift work.
On May 19, the TIPO further announced that in the scenario that the pandemic alert measures are raised to level four (a lockdown):
- the office will cease all in-person activities;
- TIPO’s e-filing services will continue to operate to the best of the office’s ability; and
- applicants will be given a grace period of 30 days after the lockdown ends to complete actions that need to be performed by a deadline falling within the lockdown period.