CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan lifts COVID-19 testing for foreign residents entering country

07/03/2020 05:33 PM
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CNA photo used for illustrative purposes only
CNA photo used for illustrative purposes only

Taipei, July 3 (CNA) Foreign residents of Taiwan will no longer have to provide negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test results when entering the country starting Saturday, the Central Epidemic Command Center said Friday.

Foreign residents with residency permits are not restricted from entering Taiwan, and because Taiwanese do not have to show a negative COVID-19 test when re-entering the country, foreign residents should not have to either, the CECC said in reversing a previous decision.

The CECC announced on June 24 that all foreign nationals, including resident permit holders, would have to show a negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than three days before their departure date when entering Taiwan.

On Thursday, the three-day timeframe was changed to three business days, and on Friday, the test requirement was lifted for resident permit holders.

Hong Kong and Macau residents who have Taiwan Employment Gold Cards, a four-in-one visa, which includes work permit, resident visa, Alien Resident Certificate and re-entry permit for foreign professionals, are also exempted from providing a negative COVID-19 test, the CECC said.

According to official statistics, there are over 19,000 foreigners with residence permits who are currently outside of Taiwan.

Before June 29, foreign nationals were generally barred from visiting Taiwan except for Alien Resident Certificate holders, or people in Taiwan for diplomatic or other official purposes or to fulfill business contracts.

Taiwan then opened entry to businesspeople for short stays on June 29. Entry measures for foreign students or migrant workers are being handled separately by the education and labor ministries, respectively.

To date, Taiwan has recorded a total of 449 cases of COVID-19. While 358 are classified to be imported, 55 are believed to be local infections, according to CECC statistics.

The other 36 cases occurred aboard a Navy vessel that was on a goodwill mission in the Pacific in March, but the CECC has said that cluster infection originated in Taiwan.

(By Chen Wei-ting and William Yen)

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