WUHAN VIRUS/Taiwan bans entry of most Hong Kong, Macau residents over coronavirus

02/10/2020 05:47 PM
CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) Taiwan will temporarily close it borders to most residents of Hong Kong and Macau, starting Tuesday, as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Monday.

The ban, however, will not apply to people on business contracts, international employees transferred to Taiwan, or residents of Hong Kong and Macau who hold Taiwan resident permits, their spouses, and minor children, according to the CECC.

Taiwan's authorities decided to impose the entry ban in light of the escalation of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has been spreading rapidly in Guangdong Province on the borders of Hong Kong and Macau, Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺) said Monday.

The ban followed a decision last Friday by Taiwan authorities to stop issuing entry permits to Hong Kong and Macau residents on arrival and suspend online applications for such permits.

Hong Kong and Macau residents who had already received approval to enter Taiwan would be allowed to do but must remain in quarantine at home for 14 days, the CECC said Feb. 5, when it announced that restriction.

Taiwan's latest ban is expected to affect 7,972 students from Hong Kong and Macau, who have not yet returned to Taiwan after the winter break, according to Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠).

During the ban, those students will be given various options such as video conferencing to continue their studies, he said.

The other 2,872 students who returned to Taiwan before the ban was imposed will be required to remain in quarantine at home for 14 days, Pan said.

On Wednesday, the CECC raised its epidemic alert for Hong Kong and Macau to the second level in its three-tier warning system, as signs of community transmission of the 2019-nCoV appeared in Hong Kong, and a casino worker was in Macau was confirmed to be infected.

Last week, Taiwan temporarily banned the entry of all mainland Chinese citizens, as well as foreign nationals who may have been in China, Hong Kong or Macau in the 14 days leading up to their travel to Taiwan.

(By Phoenix Hsu and Evelyn Kao)

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