Taiwan to Allow Essential Travel from Low-Risk Countries

Those based in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam are eligible under the new scheme.

A distant view of the Taipei skyline. (Photo: TangChi Lee/Unsplash)

Starting from June 22, Taiwan will be reopening its borders to business professionals from 15 countries and territories around the Asia-Pacific region. Instead of the usual two-week mandatory quarantine, the self-isolation period in designated hotels will be reduced to five days for travelers from places deemed to have a low risk of Covid-19 infection, and seven days for those from low-to-medium risk areas.

According to a statement published yesterday by the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, the countries and regions with a low risk of infection are Australia, Bhutan, Brunei, Fiji, Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, New Zealand, Palau, Thailand, and Vietnam. Those classified as low-to-medium risk include Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea. The list will be reviewed every two weeks, and adjusted according to the latest Covid-19 situation in each place, alongside other criteria such as transparency of information on the epidemic.

The special arrangements will apply to travelers who are 1) staying in Taiwan for less than three months, and 2) engaged in short-term business activities, including product inspection, signing contracts, and technical guidance and skills training. Additionally, they must have had no travel history to other countries or regions 14 days before boarding the flight to Taiwan.

Those who meet these requirements should apply at their nearest Taipei Economic and Trade Office with supporting documents, an itinerary of their trip, as well as epidemic prevention plans prepared by the company. They’ll also have to test negative for Covid-19 through a nucleic acid test within three days of departure, with proof shown to immigration officials upon arrival.

Business travelers from low-risk countries can expect to be tested for Covid-19 (at their own expense) on the fifth day after entry, while arrivals from low-to-medium risk areas will be swabbed on their seventh day of quarantine. Those who test negative will be released and allowed to begin an “autonomous health management period” over the next 21 days, during which they should measure their own body temperature on a daily basis and record the names of every person they come into contact with. Throughout that period, travelers are asked to conduct limited business activities, avoid public places wherever possible, and wear face masks while out.

Taiwan has been widely lauded for its successful response to the Covid-19 outbreak, which is reflected in the country’s remarkably low infection numbers. Only four of the 445 confirmed cases so far remain active, and health minister Chen Shih-chung announced yesterday that no locally transmitted Covid-19 infections had been recorded in Taiwan for over two months.

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