CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan eases border restrictions for returning international students

07/08/2020 09:12 PM
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A dedicated counter at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport for overseas students. CNA file photo
A dedicated counter at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport for overseas students. CNA file photo

Taipei, July 8 (CNA) Taiwan on Wednesday announced the easing of border restrictions allowing students from 18 countries and regions to return to the nation, whether they are scheduled to graduate this year or not, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE).

The 18 countries and regions are Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Palau, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Fiji, Mongolia, Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Sri Lanka, the MOE said in a statement.

Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Sri Lanka were the latest five countries to be added to a list of 13, that originally only allowed graduating students to return to Taiwan, the MOE said.

The students need to apply through their universities and present official documents issued to them when checking in for their flights, the MOE said.

After arriving in Taiwan, they will be screened for fever and other symptoms before being checked against a roster approved by the education ministry, the MOE said.

The students will then proceed to a counter in the arrivals hall for returning international students from where they will take a special taxi or university bus to their mandatory 14-day quarantine locations, the MOE said.

Since Taiwan closed its borders to foreign nationals in March, more than 26,000 international students have been unable to return to complete their studies.

As of June 17, graduating students from the first 11 countries -- Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Palau, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Fiji, Mongolia and Bhutan -- have been admitted, with Laos and Cambodia added to the list on July 1.

A total of 260 students have returned as of Tuesday, according to MOE statistics.

According to the ministry, 63,000 foreign students were enrolled in Taiwanese universities and colleges as of the end of 2019.

In response to reporters asking when new students will be allowed into the country, the MOE said a decision will be made at a later date, after the current condition of returning students has been evaluated.

(By William Yen)

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