Taiwan lists 11 low-risk countries college students can return from

Vietnam, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, HK, and Macau among places students can return to Taiwan

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Ministry of Education (MOE) on Wednesday (June 17) announced 11 countries that it deems as low-risk for Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) infections and whose students will be given priority when Taiwan opens up its borders to students for the fall semester.

As Taiwan extends its streak of zero local Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases to 66 days, Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) during a Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) news conference on Wednesday (June 17) announced that the country will prioritize students from 11 countries and regions to attend school this fall semester. These include Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Palau, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Fiji, Mongolia, and Bhutan.

Pan said that starting that day, universities can make relevant preparations for the return of students from these countries/areas, with priority given to the 2,238 from those places who will be graduating at the end of the academic year. All students will still be required to undergo 14-days of quarantine.

Pan said that when determining which students will be allowed to enter Taiwan first, priority would be placed on students from low-risk countries, graduating seniors, and students who stay in quarantine hotels. The minister said that the students will be allowed to enter in different waves, with the first wave consisting of graduating seniors, "other remaining older students," and students that began their studies in 2020.

Prior to the arrival of the students, colleges will be required to provide the MOE with a list of registered students, the facilities where they will undergo quarantine, their flights, and visas. After the students arrive, the universities will need to have protocols in place for coronavirus screening, safe transportation, and quarantine facilities.

Once in quarantine, universities must appoint a team to monitor the condition of the students on a daily basis for the two-week isolation period.

The first wave of returning students will not include Chinese nationals, as there is a new coronavirus outbreak being reported in Beijing. The MOE will regularly consult with the CECC to provide an updated list of low-risk countries from which students can be allowed to travel to Taiwan.