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Travelers to Taiwan’s outlying islands face COVID tests during LNY holiday

Rapid tests to concentrate on travelers with COVID symptoms

COVID testing at Kinmen airport in May 2021. 

COVID testing at Kinmen airport in May 2021.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As COVID-19 cases continue to expand across Taiwan, travelers to outlying islands will face rapid tests at airports and harbors from the start of the Lunar New Year holiday, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) announced Friday (Jan. 28).

With recent domestic infections in several parts of Taiwan’s main island, local governments in Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu have expressed concern that visitors might take the virus to their islands during the Jan. 29-Feb. 6 Lunar New Year holiday.

Travelers will face the tests beginning Saturday (Jan. 29) at five airports and three ports on Taiwan’s main island before boarding transport to the outlying islands. Those who show symptoms of COVID will be asked to postpone their trip undergo PCR testing at a hospital, CNA reported. The five airports are Taipei Songshan, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung, while the three ports are Keelung, Kaohsiung, and Tainan.

Travelers without symptoms can decide independently whether to take the rapid tests, but passengers that have experienced symptoms during the previous 14 days must undergo a test or show negative results from a rapid or PCR test taken within 24 hours. They are also advised to arrive at the airport or harbor 90 minutes before departure time.

The MOTC is also requiring travelers to go online and fill out a health statement, which will be compulsory for all airplane and ferry passengers to the islands. The statement will allow travelers to get a refund should they test positive for COVID, the MOTC said.