CORONAVIRUS/Subsidies, eligibility for quarantine hotel guests to be reduced
Taipei, Sept. 14 (CNA) Taiwan's subsidies for people staying at quarantine hotels for the mandatory isolation period amid the COVID-19 pandemic will last until the end of this year but will be reduced to keep the budget sustainable, the Tourism Bureau announced Monday.
The bureau said in a statement that the government subsidies, aimed at encouraging hostels and hotels to offer lodgings to people subjected to home quarantine or home isolation, were set to expire on Aug. 31.
However, in light of the continuous demand as the pandemic remains active, the subsidies will be prolonged until Dec. 31, the bureau said, but after taking international COVID-19 outbreaks and the government's limited budget into consideration, it decided to cut the money from NT$1,200 (US$41) per person per day to NT$800, starting Oct. 1.
Moreover, those eligible for the quarantine hotel subsidies will be limited to Taiwanese nationals and permanent residency holders, also starting Oct. 1, the bureau added.
Under the existing regulations, anyone -- no matter if they are citizens or foreigners -- who is ordered to undergo 14 days of home quarantine or home isolation -- is entitled to a NT$1,200 per day subsidy if they choose to stay in a quarantine hotel.
The measure was first introduced in April by the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to "reward" hostels and hotels that provide lodgings to people subjected to quarantine isolation.
So far, there are more than 12,000 rooms in quarantine hotels around Taiwan, with an occupancy rate of around 70 percent, according to data from the bureau.
The local governments of cities and counties are continuing to assist businesses to open more quarantine rooms for future demand, the bureau said, adding that quarantine hotels play a significant role in the prevention of community outbreaks of the highly contagious virus.
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