CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan to shorten quarantine, grant entry to business travelers from March 7 (update)
Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) Beginning March 7, Taiwan will shorten the quarantine period for all arrivals in the country and those who come into contact with anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, from 14 to 10 days, as well as grant entry to business travelers, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Thursday.
Shortened quarantine for arrivals
Individuals arriving in the country will be allowed to quarantine at home if they are staying alone or only sharing the residence with others who entered Taiwan on the same day, the CECC said in a statement.
They will also have the option of staying at a designated quarantine hotel during the 10-day quarantine period, the CECC said.
All arrivals will receive a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon entry to Taiwan and before the end of quarantine, as well as take three rapid tests on the third, fifth, and seventh day of quarantine.
They will take another two rapid tests on the third day and near the end of the seven-day self-health management period, the CECC said.
During the self-health management period, which directly follows quarantine, people can go about their lives as usual, as long as they do not attend large gatherings or dine in large groups.
According to the CECC, Taiwan has recorded 523 cases of the Omicron variant among arrivals in the country who test positive for COVID-19 as of Feb. 23.
Of these, 99.04 percent test positive within the first 10 days of quarantine, and those who test positive afterwards have very low viral loads, so the risk of them infecting others is low, the CECC said.
Shortened quarantine for contacts of individuals with COVID-19
Also from March 7, anyone who has to quarantine due to contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 will also have their quarantine period shortened from 14 to 10 days, the CECC said.
These individuals can quarantine at home as long as they are not sharing a room or bathroom with others living in the same residence.
If local health authorities deem the individual's home unsuitable for quarantine, they will be quarantined at a government center free of charge, the CECC said.
In terms of testing, individuals will take a PCR test at the start and end of the quarantine period, as well as during quarantine if they develop COVID-19 symptoms.
They will also take two rapid tests, one during the fifth to seventh day of quarantine, and the other at the end of the self-health management period, according to the CECC.
Starting March 7, Taiwan will allow non-resident business travelers to apply to enter the country, though the rules differ for foreign and Chinese nationals.
Foreign business travelers can visit Taiwan to explore business opportunities, for investment purposes, to fulfill business contracts, or if employed by a Taiwanese company.
They must apply to an overseas Taiwan representatives office for an entry permit before visiting, the CECC said.
Business travelers from China, Hong Kong, and Macau can only come to Taiwan to fulfill business contracts or as part of internal transfers within multinational companies, the CECC said.
Business travelers from Hong Kong and Macau can apply for an entry permit via an overseas Taiwan representative office, but business travelers from other areas of China cannot apply for a permit in person.
Instead, the company in Taiwan with which they are conducting business must apply for an entry permit on their behalf and the application will be processed by the National Immigration Agency (NIA), the CECC said.
More details on the new measures will be released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs next week.
Lunar New Year quarantine options retained
Also on Thursday, the CECC said that the quarantine options initially introduced on Dec. 14 for people returning to Taiwan for the Lunar New Year holiday will remain in place until March 6.
The policy, which includes the "10+4" and "7+7" quarantine plans, was originally scheduled to end on Feb. 14, before being extended to Feb. 28.
Under the plans, arrivals spend the first seven or 10 days of their mandatory 14-day quarantine at a hotel or government facility, before finishing the remaining time at their own residence, provided they and the people they live with meet certain vaccination requirements.
Taiwan has required all arrivals in the country and contacts of individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days since March 19, 2020, and has banned entry for all foreign nationals without residency, bar a few exceptions, since May 19, 2021, following an unprecedented spike in domestic COVID-19 cases.
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