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Taipei, March 18 (CNA) Taiwan will bar all foreign nationals from entering Taiwan starting Thursday, with some exceptions, as it intensifies efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.
Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), announced the new restrictions at a CECC news conference Wednesday, and said it was necessary after seeing a spike in confirmed cases among Taiwanese who had traveled abroad recently.
Among the foreign nationals who will not be subject to the ban are those who hold Alien Resident Certificates (ARCs) or documents proving they are in Taiwan for diplomatic or other official purposes or to fulfill business contracts, as well as those who have received special permits, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said.
Meanwhile, all Taiwanese citizens and foreign nationals with the necessary documentation who arrive in Taiwan from overseas will be required to be quarantined at home for 14 days, Chen said.
Wu said the restrictions on entry into Taiwan for foreign nationals will be subject to change based on CECC directives.
On Tuesday, a total of 10 new COVID-19 cases, all imported, were confirmed in Taiwan, bringing the total number in the country to 77. Out of the 77 cases, 50 were imported (meaning they were contracted outside of Taiwan).
Currently, 22 of the 77 coronavirus patients in Taiwan have been released from quarantine, while one patient has died and the others are still in negative pressure hospital quarantine rooms, but they are all in relatively stable condition, according to the CECC.