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Taiwan to bar entry to non-resident foreigners on Jan. 1

Ban comes after first case of mutant Covid strain from UK detected in Taiwan

CECC head Chen Shih-chung. 

CECC head Chen Shih-chung.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In response to the discovery of Taiwan's first imported case of the new mutant coronavirus strain that emerged in the UK, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that it will ban foreign arrivals, with a few exceptions, starting Jan. 1, 2021

A new strain of the virus, identified as B.1.1.7, has reared its head in the U.K. and been found to be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the original virus that came out of Wuhan, China, last year. On Wednesday, Health Minister and Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that a male passenger in his teens on the flight from London that arrived Sunday (Dec. 27), Case No. 792, has tested positive for the new strain of the virus.

In an effort to prevent the spread of the highly contagious strain, Chen announced on Wednesday that effective Jan. 1, foreign visitors will be barred from entering Taiwan, with the exception of resident visa holders, diplomats, businesspeople with special entry permits, spouses and children of Taiwanese citizens, those approved under humanitarian considerations, and other persons with special entry permits. The same rules apply to individuals from Hong Kong, Macau, and China.

Starting on Jan. 15, prior to boarding a flight to Taiwan, passengers must present proof that an approved quarantine facility, such as a quarantine center or official quarantine hotel, has been arranged. The facility may only contain one person.

All passengers must also provide a negative result from a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the coronavirus within three days of their flight.

In addition, Taiwan will put an end to transit flights through its airports on Jan. 1.

Taiwan to bar entry to non-resident foreigners on Jan. 1
(CDC photo)