Taiwan not on list of safe countries as EU reopens next week

EU set to open to 18 countries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs accepts list decided on reciprocal basis

  22715
People wait in line at the check-in for a flight to Dusseldorf, Germany, at Rome's Fiumicino airport, June 3, 2020. 

People wait in line at the check-in for a flight to Dusseldorf, Germany, at Rome's Fiumicino airport, June 3, 2020.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has reportedly not been included on the list of safe countries determined by the European Union (EU), which is set to reopen borders next week and revive commerce and tourism.

The list, finalized by EU diplomats on Friday (June 26), includes: Australia, Algeria, Canada, Japan, Georgia, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Tunisia, Thailand, Uruguay, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, and the Vatican, reported the New York Times.

Grueling negotiations took place, reportedly, to arrive at an agreement for the nations whose citizens will be allowed entry to the EU following months of lockdown. The list needs to be formally approved before it goes into effect July 1, according to the report.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said it is in close contact with the EU over the issue, acknowledging the list was decided on a reciprocal basis, wrote Liberty Times. A number of countries are in talks with the EU to arrange “speedy access” to each other’s territories, taking into account bilateral trade ties, MOFA noted.

Given that the coronavirus is still ravaging Europe, it has not been deemed a region of mitigated COVID-19 risk by the Taiwan health authorities. According to a list published by the Central Epidemic Control Center (CECC) on June 17, low-infection risk nations and areas include: New Zealand, Australia, Macau, Palau, Fiji, Brunei, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Mongolia, and Bhutan; middle-infection risk areas are South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore. The list is being reviewed every two weeks.

Nevertheless, Taiwan is relaxing border rules for foreigners wishing to visit the country for purposes other than tourism or social reasons starting Monday (June 29). Individuals of all nationalities can apply for entry permits under the condition they provide documentation indicating a negative result on their COVID-19 nucleic acid test.