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Taiwan ex-VP suggests border opening in July, August

Other countries open up 1 month to 6 weeks after COVID peak

Former Vice President Chen Chien-jen. (Presidential Office photo)

Former Vice President Chen Chien-jen. (Presidential Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan should consider reopening its borders to foreign visitors in July or August, former Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said Thursday (June 23).

The epidemiologist served as head of the country’s health ministry from 2003 to 2005, a period which included the height of the SARS epidemic in Asia and Taiwan.

Speaking during a radio interview Thursday, he said most countries loosened their travel restrictions about one month to six weeks after their COVID-19 outbreaks peaked, CNA reported. Officials said earlier Taiwan had passed its peak, with the number of new local infections falling below 50,000 on Thursday.

On June 15, the country introduced the “3+4” formula for arrivals from overseas, cutting the number of compulsory quarantine days from seven to three and the number of days for self-health monitoring from seven to four.

If borders reopened during the peak period, a high number of local COVID transmissions combined with imported cases would make it difficult to provide effective care to all patients, Chen said. However, now that the number of new cases is declining and the vaccination coverage for booster shots is likely to reach 75% next month, it would be appropriate to consider reopening the border in July or August, according to the former health minister.

Several other countries in the region, including Thailand, Japan, and South Korea, have recently announced a loosening of travel restrictions.