CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan expands on-arrival COVID testing rules to short-haul flights

01/19/2022 06:37 PM
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Arriving passengers are processed by the gate at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Wednesday. CNA photo Jan. 19, 2022
Arriving passengers are processed by the gate at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Wednesday. CNA photo Jan. 19, 2022

Taipei, Jan. 19 (CNA) COVID-19 airport testing rules requiring passengers arriving in Taiwan on long-haul flights to wait for the result of their COVID-19 PCR tests at the airport will be expanded to short-haul arrivals from India and eight Southeast Asian countries starting Thursday, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced Wednesday.

From Thursday, all passengers arriving in Taiwan on short-haul flights from India, the Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore will have to wait at the airport for their on-arrival COVID-19 test results before completing clearance procedures, Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said at the daily CECC press briefing.

If their test comes back negative, they will be permitted to leave for a government quarantine facility or quarantine hotel, while a positive result means they will be immediately sent to a hospital, or an enhanced quarantine facility based on their symptoms, Chen added.

People who test positive but have mild symptoms or who are asymptomatic will be taken to a government-run center or placed in an enhanced quarantine hotel, while those with more serious symptoms will be sent to a medical facility, Chen had said previously.

The widening of the testing rules to flights from the nine countries means an additional 10-plus flights will be subject to the airport testing rules on Thursday, according to Chen.

Health workers processing COVID-19 tests at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. CNA photo Jan. 19, 2022
Health workers processing COVID-19 tests at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. CNA photo Jan. 19, 2022

The CECC had announced the new testing rules in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases worldwide and a huge influx of passengers from overseas coming for the Lunar New Year holiday from Jan. 29-Feb. 6.

Since Taiwan began implementing on Jan. 11 the tightened testing measures for long-haul passengers, 3,934 inbound travelers have been required to take a government-funded rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 upon arrival, with 247 having tested positive so far, according to Chen.

Currently, the rules apply to passengers arriving on long-haul flights from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand, and Australia, according to the CECC.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Evelyn Kao)

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