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Check Before You Go! Forestry Bureau Announces Hiking Self-Checklist for COVID-19 Prevention

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202108/12
After being confined at home for so long, people can finally go hiking again. Have you had any respiratory symptoms in the past 14 days? Have you applied for a permit to stay at mountain cabins? What is the risk of infection for your group members? Have you prepared face masks and hand sanitizer? Have you prepared garbage bags to carry disposable items down from the mountain? Is there a plan in place to avoid sharing meals?

To resume mountain and forest activities and to protect the environment in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forestry Bureau collected worldwide pandemic prevention information and took the initiative to invite various government authorities and organizations, as well as relevant experts and scholars, to jointly develop the Taiwan Mountain and Forest Hiking Self-Checklist for COVID-19 Prevention. These units included the Sports Administration, Ministry of Education; Construction and Planning Agency, Ministry of the Interior; Chinese Taipei Alpine Association, Chinese Taipei Mountaineering Association, Taiwan Mountain Rescue Association, and Taiwan Alpine Culture Association. The checklist was compiled from the user's perspective and it can be used as a reference for COVID-19 prevention while hiking in Taiwan's mountains and forests. The public is encouraged to use the checklist and implement pandemic prevention proactively.

Outdoor Activities Gradually Resume as Pandemic Slows Down
In response to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic in early May this year, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) raised the COVID-19 alert to Level 3 since May 19, 2021, and all types of domestic tourism and outdoor activities were suspended. Fortunately, with the joint efforts of the government and the public, the COVID-19 wave has stabilized and almost subsided. Various control measures for pandemic prevention have therefore been gradually relaxed in the country, with hiking trails successively reopening and outdoor activities in the mountains and forests gradually recovering.

Drawing on International Experience to Formulate COVID-19 Precautions for Hiking Activities
Although the competent authorities have set out guidelines for pandemic prevention at specific venues, hiking activities encompass a wide range of categories, such as tourism, adventure and exploration, sports and fitness, and lifestyle and leisure. It is no easy task for individual agencies, venues, and guidelines to stipulate comprehensive mandatory standards that can meet all pandemic prevention needs. Therefore, the Forestry Bureau referenced the experience of Japan and the United Kingdom in their development of COVID-19 prevention guidelines related to hiking after their gradual recovery from large-scale outbreaks. The Forestry Bureau also consulted experts and scholars in the fields of mountain search and rescue, medicine, and hiking activities to jointly develop a self-checklist for pandemic prevention adequate for Taiwan's hiking activities, to serve as basis for pandemic prevention by hikers.

The Forestry Bureau said that in view of the long-term global impact of COVID-19, hikers must stay alert at all times and cultivate habits that can help prevent COVID-19 in order to keep the pandemic under control effectively and consistently. This self-checklist makes reference to the relevant literature published by the National Central Committee for Mountain Accident Response under Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Alpine Club of the United Kingdom. The checklist proposes 24 precautions in four major areas: prior planning and preparation, preliminary risk management, equipment, and considerations during activities, so that the public can make adequate preparations while planning and engaging in hiking activities, in order to protect themselves and others.

Proactive Implementation of Onsite Guidelines
Let's All Do Our Share for COVID-19 Prevention
According to the Forestry Bureau, this self-checklist is a set of voluntary pandemic prevention guidelines designed from the user's perspective to serve as reference so that the public can proactively implement COVID-19 prevention. In addition, it will also work in conjunction with the guidelines of each hiking route management unit. Let us all do our share for COVID-19 prevention when visiting the mountains and forests. Members of the public are welcome to make use of this checklist. Details of the self-checklist is available for download from the Taiwan Forest Recreation website.
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Visit counts:50 Last updated on:2022-05-18