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Taiwan to shorten quarantine for arriving passengers

On-arrival COVID nasal swab to be changed to saliva test

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Taiwan to shorten quarantine for arriving passengers

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) is planning on shortening the length of the current seven-day mandatory quarantine for passengers arriving from overseas.

During a press conference on Friday (May 27), 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 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.

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.

At a press briefing on Monday (May 30), Chen pointed out that current epidemic prevention measures such as the mask requirement will remain in place from June 1-30. As for testing passengers upon arrival, Chen said that the CECC is planning on switching from nasal swab tests to saliva tests.

Citing comments by Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) earlier that day regarding the shortening of quarantine for arriving passengers, a reporter asked Chen if Taiwan would switch to a "3+4" or "0+7" plan for travelers entering the country. Chen responded that the number of quarantine days would be shortened, rather than ending quarantine altogether.

As for the "0+7" plan of having no quarantine days and seven days of self-health management, Chen said that such a plan is not currently being considered because the center is planning on shortening quarantine in the next phase, but not yet eliminating it entirely.

A timeframe was not given for the implementation of the shortened quarantine, but given Chen's comments on Friday about making an announcement on loosened border controls next month, it appears the changes could occur as early as June.