TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — On Monday (June 29) 107 passengers from Hong Kong and Macau comprised the first batch of foreigners allowed to enter Taiwan since a ban was imposed on foreign visitors in March amid the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Taiwan has now opened its borders to foreign nationals and citizens of Hong Kong and Macau for business and trade or on humanitarian grounds. A total of three flights arrived that day carrying 78 passengers from Hong Kong and 29 passengers from Macau.
During a press conference on Sunday (June 28), Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said that three flights on Monday would include EVA Air Flight BR802 from Macau arriving at 3 p.m., China Airlines Flight CI910 from Hong Kong arriving at 3:55 p.m., and Air Macau Flight NX620 from Macau arriving at 8:50 p.m.
Upon arrival, the passengers were required to submit proof of a negative nucleic acid test report for the coronavirus that had been completed within three days before boarding a flight to Taiwan. Once admitted through the airport screening procedures, the passengers must begin a 14-day quarantine period and pass another test for COVID-19 before they can be released.
As the outbreak of the coronavirus was beginning to accelerate in Taiwan, the CECC on March 18 announced that all foreign visitors would be barred from entering the country effective March 19. Exceptions were made for those holding an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC, 居留證), diplomatic officials, and businesspeople with special entry permits.
Over three months later, Central Epidemic Command Center Deputy Chief Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) during a press conference on June 24 announced that Taiwan will allow foreign nationals, including those from Hong Kong and Macau, to apply for entry permits. Chen said that foreigners of any country may apply, with the exception of tourists and those making ordinary "social visits."
In the case of Hong Kong and Macau citizens, Chen said that they can apply for entry under the following circumstances: special humanitarian considerations and emergency assistance, business activities, and internal transfers from multinational companies. In addition, those who have obtained residence permits as spouses or children of Taiwanese citizens or for economic and trade exchanges can also apply for entry.
The command center also reminded all passengers who want to enter Taiwan to use their mobile phones to complete the "Quarantine System for Entry" before checking in with the airline or boarding at the departure location. This will speed up customs clearance operations and community epidemic prevention measures after entry.