Taiwan airport e-Gates closed to foreigners starting today

Wuhan virus outbreak prompts Taiwan to close e-Gates to all foreign arrivals beginning Feb. 7


(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's e-Gate service has been temporarily closed to foreign visitors as the Wuhan virus continues to spread across the globe.

On Wednesday (Feb. 5) the National Immigration Agency (NIA) announced on its Facebook page that it is temporarily suspending e-Gate services for all foreign visitors effective on Friday (Feb. 7). Instead, all foreign nationals arriving at Taiwan's airports will need to see an immigration officer.

The agency said it has made the decision in order to better screen passengers for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The suspension of service also applies to foreign residents who hold Alien Residence Certificates (ARCs).

In particular, immigration officers will be investigating whether arriving foreign nationals have traveled to China, Hong Kong, and Macau. Any foreign citizen who has visited these areas over the previous 14 days is barred from entering Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) made the announcement on Tuesday (Feb. 4), with flight transfers at a Chinese airport, and visits to Hong Kong and Macau originally being exempt from the border control measures. However, after the Central Epidemic Command Center raised its travel advisory for Hong Kong and Macau to an “alert,” the new measures were simultaneously extended to the two cities.

Foreigners who already have a valid residence permit may enter Taiwan, even if they have traveled to China and the two special administrative regions over the past two weeks. However, they will be put under home quarantine for 14 days to monitor their health.

The new regulations targeting foreign nationals are subject to change according to how the virus outbreak develops, according to the Taiwanese authorities.

As of Thursday (Feb. 6), Chinese nationals are not allowed entry into Taiwan – a new border control measure announced by the Mainland Affairs Council the day before. The entry ban for residents of Hong Kong and Macau into Taiwan will become effective on Friday, MAC announced on Thursday afternoon.

Hong Kong and Macau residents who already have a valid Taiwan residence permit may enter the country, but they will have to undergo a 14-day home quarantine. Those who have emergencies can make a visa application to Taiwan’s representative office in Hong Kong or Macau

(NIA Facebook image)