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Taiwan alters testing regulations for travelers, migrant workers

Travelers must take PCR test 2 days before flight, migrant workers changing jobs no longer need testing

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Basketball player William Artino (right) arrives with wife in Taiwan on Dec. 2.

Basketball player William Artino (right) arrives with wife in Taiwan on Dec. 2. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Monday (Dec. 27) tightened the window for COVID testing for travelers to two days, while it eliminated the need for PCR tests for migrant workers changing jobs in Taiwan.

At a Monday press conference, CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that Taiwan saw a surge of 109 imported cases last week, an increase of 76% over the previous week. Given this spike in cases and the rise of the Omicron variant worldwide, Taipei will require all travelers to take a PCR test two days before their flight to Taiwan.

Previously, passengers could take a COVID test up to three days before a flight. Under the new rules, which go into effect on Jan. 4, 2022, all arriving passengers must present proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than two days calendar days before boarding their flight.

For example, a traveler arriving in Taiwan on Jan. 4 must present proof of a COVID test taken on or after Jan. 2. The following are four components of the new testing regulation:

  1. Test results must be in English, Chinese, or combined Chinese and English
  2. Report can be in paper or digital format
  3. PCR test results must include recipient's name and date of birth, matching passport information, disease tested, date of test, nucleic acid test methods (including PCR, Real-Time PCR, and RT-PCR), and interpretation of results
  4. Serum immunological tests for antigens or antibodies are not nucleic acid tests and do not meet the requirements of this regulation

Passengers who violate the above-mentioned regulations could face fines of between NT$10,000 and NT$150,000 for violating Articles 58 and 69 of the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法).

Migrant workers changing jobs/work sites

Chen also announced that effective on Monday (Dec. 27), migrant workers currently residing in Taiwan will no longer be required to undergo PCR testing before they change employers or are assigned to a different work site by their original employer as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID. However, employers and foreign workers must still follow all other epidemic prevention protocols set by the CECC.

This new exemption does not apply to incoming migrant workers arriving from overseas. Foreign workers arriving from abroad are still subject to the same COVID testing and quarantine requirements as before.