Taiwan halts flight transfers to stem coronavirus spread

The measure, effective March 24, will be implemented for at least two weeks

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Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan announced on Sunday (March 22) that airplane passengers will be banned from making transfers at the nation's airports in a bid to check the risk of coronavirus transmissions.

The ban goes into effect on Tuesday (March 24) and will last through April 7, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC). The measure was implemented to curtail cross-border human movement and curb the highly contagious COVID-19.

Taiwan reported 16 new Wuhan virus infections on Sunday, 13 of whom were imported cases, bringing the total up to 169. The island country has seen a rise in cases over the past week, with most of them having traveled and studied abroad.

The ramped-up border control follows a decision to bar foreign nationals from entering Taiwan, effective March 19. Exceptions include individuals holding an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC), diplomatic officials, and businesspeople with special entry permits.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs introduced a 30-day automatic extension for foreigners with a visa waiver, visitor visa, or landing visa. The policy applies to those arriving in Taiwan on or before March 21.

In light of the growing risk of importing COVID-19 cases, Singapore also announced on Sunday the city-state will not allow short-term visitors to enter or transit through the country, reported the Straits Times. The restriction takes effect from 11:59 p.m. on Monday (March 23).