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KMT lawmaker urges group travel to be allowed for COVID vaccination outside Taiwan

Taiwanese currently only allowed to travel abroad independently

Woman packing suitcase (Getty Images)

Woman packing suitcase (Getty Images)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An opposition legislator has called for the ban on outbound group travel to be lifted for those wishing to get inoculated against COVID-19 overseas.

KMT legislator Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said in a Facebook post Thursday (June 17) that people should be allowed to travel abroad for vaccination, as the country is confronted with an acute shortage of vaccine doses. The government has banned both inbound and outbound group tours since March 2020 in a bid to fend off the coronavirus.

While people can already fly to other countries independently to receive jabs, group travel would reduce the cost, Lin said. He argued that it would also cut down on the risk of infection through the management of group members.

Given that Taiwan is struggling to secure doses and that the efficacy of homegrown doses is still uncertain, these restrictions should be removed so that people can save their own necks overseas, Lin stressed.

The Tourism Bureau insisted that the ban on outbound group travel will remain in place in line with the country’s epidemic prevention rules and border controls. Travel agencies, however, are permitted to book tickets and accommodation for customers planning to embark on vaccination tourism, the bureau added.

As of June 15, around 1 million doses had been administered in Taiwan, which has a population of 23.6 million, according to the National Center for High-Performance Computing COVID-19 Dashboard.