Taiwanese leaving India unaffected by Japan coronavirus travel ban

Japanese travel ban covers arrivals from 73 countries but not India

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Tourists stuck at a New Delhi hostel due to India's nationwide coronavirus lockdown 

Tourists stuck at a New Delhi hostel due to India's nationwide coronavirus lockdown  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese citizens planning to leave India on board a Japanese flight will not be affected by a travel ban imposed by the Japanese government, reports said Thursday (April 2).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on March 31 that Japan would offer available seats on charter jets out of India to Taiwanese citizens wanting to leave that country. However, on April 1, the Japanese government said it would expand a ban on arrivals to cover visitors from 73 countries, including Taiwan.

In order to clarify the situation, Taiwan’s representative office in India contacted the Japanese authorities and learned that the ban would not affect Taiwanese travelers transiting in Japan on their way from India to Taiwan, CNA reported. As India does not fall under the new ban, the Taiwanese can freely transit, though if they plan to enter Japan, they will be subject to a 14-day quarantine, the office said.

One problem Taiwanese travelers may encounter is that while Tokyo’s Haneda Airport operates 24 hours a day, Narita closes at night, which may force Taiwanese to leave the airport and therefore be quarantined.

The latest statistics show that 12 Taiwanese citizens left India for Japan on Wednesday (April 1), while six booked flights on Thursday and one on April 4. According to CNA, many Taiwanese in India who live and work in the South Asian country thought it was safer to stay at home than to undertake the long journey back to Taiwan.

The Indian government issued a three-week nationwide lockdown on March 25 to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, many foreigners planned to leave the country, even though by that time airline seats were hard to come by. Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) agreed that their charter flights to Tokyo would be open to Taiwanese citizens if there were enough seats left.