TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday (Feb. 24) announced that it will lift its ban on business travelers from select countries on March 1.
In response to Taiwan's first imported case of the U.K. mutant coronavirus strain that emerged in December 2020, the CECC announced that month that it would discontinue its shortened quarantines for business travelers starting on Jan. 1 of this year. After Taiwan was able to contain a hospital cluster infection in Taoyuan earlier this month, the CECC on Sunday (Feb. 21) indicated that because the fall and winter epidemic prevention scheme is slated to end on Feb. 28, the restrictions on foreign visitors would likely be eased in March.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) officially announced that starting on March 1, business travelers from countries rated as medium- to low-risk will be allowed to enter the country and be subject to shorter quarantines. Business people arriving from low-risk countries will have their quarantine shortened to five days, while those entering from medium-risk countries will see their quarantines shaved down to seven days.
In order to qualify for the shortened quarantines, business travelers must meet all four of the following criteria:
- The CECC declares that the person can enter Taiwan.
- The length of stay is less than 3 months.
- Businesspeople who enter the country for short-term business-related activities (inspecting goods, after-sales service, technical guidance and training, and contract signing) have obtained relevant documents from a company legally registered in Taiwan.
- The starting point is a country/region deemed low- to medium-risk in terms of coronavirus infections, and the visitor has no travel history to other countries/regions in the 14 days before boarding the flight to Taiwan.
The CECC said that those who meet the above four requirements should prepare relevant supporting documents, schedules, and epidemic prevention plans provided by their company. Business travelers also must take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 within three days of their departure and be prepared to present the certified negative results upon arrival.
The center explained that travelers who arrive from low-risk countries and have stayed for five days in a quarantine hotel can contact local health authorities to apply for a COVID-19 test at their own expense. Those from medium-risk countries can do the same after spending seven days in quarantine.
If their coronavirus test results are negative, business travelers can apply with local health authorities for permission to end their quarantine within 14 days after entering the country and begin self-health management. They must then carry out self-health monitoring until they have spent 21 days in the country.
During this 21-day period, business travelers are still expected to monitor their body temperature daily and respond to text messages requesting an update on their health status. They are also expected to limit their activities to approved business-related functions and avoid going to crowded places, with specially designated personnel responsible for their transportation at all times.
Business travelers must avoid contact with unknown persons, wear masks at all times, and maintain appropriate social distancing. In addition, they are required to reside at an approved epidemic prevention hotel for the first 14 days of their stay in Taiwan.
The CECC stated that after careful assessment of the global pandemic situation, it has determined that worldwide case counts have dropped off from their peak in January of this year. Therefore, in order to gradually restore important international business activities and revitalize the domestic economy, it has decided to allow business professionals from medium- to low-risk countries to apply for shortened quarantines.