Taiwan mulling making foreign arrivals foot bill for coronavirus test

Taiwan may soon require foreign arrivals to pay for coronavirus test after 14-day quarantine

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — On Monday (Aug. 24), the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said it is considering requiring all foreign arrivals to pay for a Wuhan coronavirus test after they complete their 14-day quarantine.

During a press conference on Monday, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) responded to media speculation that foreign arrivals would soon be required to pay for a COVID-19 test after finishing quarantine, saying: "Some foreigners have different living habits than Taiwanese, such as not wearing a mask. They are not certain how to seek medical attention in Taiwan, and they think that cold-like symptoms will resolve on their own and do not seek medical attention."

Therefore, he said that the CECC may decide to require all foreign nationals to pay to undergo a test after their mandatory quarantines. However, he emphasized that there is not yet a formal plan in place.

Chuang said the CECC will prepare an implementation plan and hold a meeting with experts to discuss its merits and feasibility.

However, the former director-general of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, Su Ih-jen (蘇益仁), has questioned the wisdom of the proposed policy. He said that the rationale for charging foreign arrivals for coronavirus testing after two weeks of quarantine "is not clear," reported CNA.

He said that if it is being done to prevent community spread, the government should fund the testing. If the CECC insists that foreigners pay, they should pay to be tested upon arrival, argued Su.

Based on the latest regulations posted by the National Immigration Agency on Aug. 1, all foreign arrivals, with the exception of persons holding Alien Resident Certificates (ARC) or resident visas, must first provide a negative result for a COVID-19 test issued within three days prior to boarding their flight to Taiwan