Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Friday that it is temporarily banning migrant workers from two Indonesian manpower agencies from entering, after it reported 13 new imported cases of COVID-19 from the Southeast Asian country earlier that day.
With immediate effect, migrant workers from the agencies PT. LAATANSA LINTAS and PT. PRIMA DUTA SEJATI will be prohibited from entering Taiwan, bringing to six the total number of agencies facing such restrictions, Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞), deputy chief of the CECC's medical response division, said at a press conference.
The CECC's announcement late Friday came hours after it confirmed 14 new COVID-19 cases -- the highest daily total since April 19 -- of which 13 were recently arrived migrant workers from Indonesia.
At the press conference, Lo noted that Indonesia is currently on Taiwan's "high-risk" list for COVID-19, as it is reporting around 5,000 new cases per day and has a 14 percent test positivity rate.
According to Ministry of Labor statistics, 4,119 Indonesian migrant workers have arrived in Taiwan since October, of which 50 have tested positive for COVID-19, Lo said.
In light of the situation, Lo said, the CECC has been conducting a rolling review of its entry policies, trying to balance both Taiwan's domestic labor requirements and public health concerns.
The CECC did not say what had led it to ban the two agencies. However, after initially banning four Indonesian manpower agencies on Nov. 20, it said that a high number of workers from the firms had tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Taiwan.
According to Lo, agencies hoping to have the ban lifted can apply to the CECC through the Indonesian government, but they must include evidence that they have tightened their epidemic prevention measures and have not been connected to any new COVID-19 cases.
Indonesia has recorded 522,581 cases of COVID-19 and 16,521 deaths, according to Worldometer data as of Friday evening.