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Taiwan to announce eased border restrictions in June

Taiwan's domestic infection rate of 6% already higher than imported cases

File photo of China Airlines charter flight.

File photo of China Airlines charter flight. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday (May 27) said it will announce new, relaxed border restrictions in June as Taiwan's infection rate of 6% is comparable to imported cases.

As the global COVID pandemic ebbs and vaccine coverage has increased, many countries have eased their border controls.

On Thursday (May 26), the Japanese government announced that it will relax restrictions on the entry of foreign tourists from June 1. Passengers from about 100 countries, including Taiwan, the U.K., and the U.S. who enter Japan next month will be exempt from virus testing and quarantine.

During a press conference on Friday afternoon, CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that as other countries open their borders, it is inevitable that Taiwan will do the same. Chen explained that due to Taiwan's previously low infection rate, it was prudent to be cautious when discussing the issue of opening the border.

However, Chen said the COVID epidemic in Taiwan has now entered a stage of community transmission and the domestic infection rate is about 6%, which is comparable to the infection rate among arriving passengers. In fact, Chen said, the percentage of passengers arriving from overseas testing positive for COVID is lower than the domestic rate at 4%.

Chen pointed out that the risk of infection from overseas travelers and domestic cases is quite similar. He added the CECC will make an announcement about loosened border controls in June, but the extent to which Taiwan eases restrictions still needs to be discussed among the various ministries.