TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwanese government is considering granting conditional entry to Indonesian migrant workers to meet labor demand in the country, according to Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中).
Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced in late November that it would place a temporary entry ban on all Indonesian migrant workers between Dec. 4 and 17 in response to the spike in imported coronavirus cases from the Southeast Asian country. At the time, it said it would decide whether to continue with the measure based on Indonesia's pandemic situation after the two-week hiatus.
During a press interview at Taipei Medical University on Sunday (Dec. 13), Chen pointed out that the CECC officials will hold meetings in the next few days to discuss options regarding the Indonesian migrant workers' entry ban. He said he expected the restriction to be partially lifted to reduce pressure on domestic labor demand.
Meanwhile, Chen refused to comment on media reports suggesting that Taiwan is planning to purchase 10 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca (AZ) coronavirus vaccines. He said the country is currently in negotiations with several vaccine suppliers but that no contract has been inked so far.
Chen stressed that it is too early to determine whether Taiwan will receive coronavirus vaccines in the first quarter of 2021. Since clinical trial reports from most global vaccine makers have not been completed, the Taiwanese health experts have to evaluate each vaccine candidate based on its design, antigen-antibody reaction, and effectiveness on animal subjects, CNA cited him as saying.