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Time not yet ripe for end to Taiwan traveler quarantine: CECC head

Chen shoots down idea of '0+7' scheme, says '3+4' plan more likely

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Passenger submits saliva specimen for PCR test on June 1.

Passenger submits saliva specimen for PCR test on June 1. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The head of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday (June 8) said the country is not yet ready to completely eliminate quarantine for arriving passengers.

Many countries have chosen to co-exist with COVID and lift their border controls. On Wednesday, South Korea loosened its entry restrictions and all travelers, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated for COVID are now exempt from quarantine.

Earlier that day, Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said in an interview on Yahoo TV that the Tourism Bureau has formulated guidelines for inbound passengers, including proof of a negative PCR test received two days prior to boarding a flight, a three-dose vaccination requirement, and that visitors arrive and depart in tour groups. Wang said the plan will be presented to the CECC for approval soon, but the implementation date still depends on the situation with the epidemic.

During a press conference that afternoon, the media cited some experts as suggesting that people who have had three vaccine doses should be able to enter under a "0+7" plan with no quarantine and seven days of self-health management. Chen said the time is not yet ripe for a "0+7" formula and that a "3+4" plan of three days of quarantine and four days of self-health monitoring is a more likely compromise.

He said that border controls will first be relaxed for business travelers and, at a later point, other travelers.

As for opening up for tourism, Chen said, based on the experience of other countries, borders can only be reopened when the overall domestic outbreak declines from its peak and there is no longer a potentially overwhelming demand for the country's medical resources. The CECC head said that some countries start preparations for opening up when case numbers have dropped to one-third of peak levels, while other countries begin to prepare when infections have dipped to half of the peak levels.

Chen said that Taiwan will make the decision based on the overall number of patient wards available and the availability of medical resources.