CORONAVIRUS/Border controls to remain until 7 million fully vaccinated: official

10/21/2021 05:59 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Oct. 21 (CNA) Taiwan's COVID-19 border control measures will remain unchanged until at least 30 percent of the population have been fully vaccinated, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said Thursday.

At a Cabinet press conference, Shih said the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) would need to weigh up the global pandemic situation and the country's COVID-19 vaccine coverage before making any changes to the current border policy.

In particular, Shih said entry restrictions would not be eased until at least 30 percent of the population, or about 7.02 million people, in Taiwan have been fully vaccinated and received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Currently four types of vaccines are available in Taiwan, including AstraZeneca, Moderna, Medigen and BioNTech, all of which require two doses administered at least 28 days apart.

The government is aiming to ensure 70 percent of the population have received at least one vaccine shot and 30 percent two doses by the end of October, according to Shih.

As of Thursday, about 5.69 million people had been fully vaccinated, which translates into 24.3 percent of the population, according to CECC data.

At the same time, approximately 15.2 million people have received at least one vaccine jab, equaling 65 percent of the population, the data showed.

Despite the stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country for the entry of more international travelers, the government is maintaining its strict border control measures.

Since March 2020, Taiwan has banned most arrivals except for citizens and foreign residents and required those who do enter the country to undergo stringent 14-day quarantine.

The government further tightened its border restrictions in May 2021 in the wake of a surge in domestic COVID-19 infections.

At present, exceptions to the visitor ban can only be made in emergencies or for humanitarian reasons, but in such circumstances, those involved are required to apply in advance to the CECC for permission to enter the country.

(By Lai Yu-chen and Teng Pei-ju)

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