CORONAVIRUS/Hong Kong and Australia removed from low risk category: CECC
Taipei, July 22 (CNA) Hong Kong and Australia have been removed from a list of COVID-19 low risk countries and regions due to a recent spike in new cases, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.
The removal of Hong Kong and Australia from the list means that business travelers from both locations will not be able to shorten their mandatory 14-day quarantine to five days if their self-paid COVID-19 test is negative at the end of the five-day quarantine, the CECC said in a statement.
Hong Kong reported 108 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday, followed by 73 cases Monday, according to official statistics provided by the Chinese special administrative region.
Meanwhile, Australia saw a total of 388 new cases nationwide between Monday and Tuesday, the country's Department of Health reported.
Taiwan has been closely watching Hong Kong and Australia since July 8 after COVID-19 spikes were observed, causing the metropolitan Melbourne area to be placed back under lockdown that day.
The latest CECC list of low risk countries and territories published Wednesday includes New Zealand, Macau, Palau, Fiji, Brunei, Vietnam, Thailand, Mongolia, Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.
While South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka were classified as low-to-moderate risk countries.
Taiwan shortened the length of the country's mandatory 14-day quarantine for business travelers from low and low-to-moderate risk countries on June 22, to five and seven days, respectively.
At the end of the five-day or seven-day quarantine, the visitors will be tested for COVID-19 at their own expense and released once they test negative.
The list is updated every two weeks to reflect the latest developments.
Taiwan has banned entry to most foreign nationals since March 19 to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, with the exception of those who hold an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) or documents proving they are in Taiwan for diplomatic, other official purposes, or to fulfill business contracts.
Taiwan has been gradually easing its COVID-19 restrictions since June 7, when it recorded 56 straight days without any domestically transmitted infections.
The country reached 101 days with no new local infections on Wednesday.
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