Taipei, June 11 (CNA) Taiwan will reduce the mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers from seven to three days, starting June 15, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Saturday.
The shortened quarantine period will be applied to passengers who arrive on June 15 and beyond, Chen said during the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) COVID-19 press briefing.
Under existing border control measures, individuals entering Taiwan are required to undergo a seven-day quarantine and another seven-day “self health monitoring” period.
During the self-monitoring period, people are contacted daily by local authorities, but they can go out if they do not show symptoms while avoiding gatherings and hospital visits.
Although the quarantine period will be reduced, travelers from abroad will still be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test taken within two days prior to their flight at the airport before they start the journey, according to the CECC.
Upon arriving in Taiwan, they will have to take a saliva-based COVID-19 test and will be given two free rapid antigen test kits before heading to their planned quarantine location, either at home or a quarantine hotel, the CECC said in a statement.
In addition to designated taxis, travelers who arrive in Taiwan can also be picked up by their family and friends, or by other vehicles arranged for them, if the drivers follow disease prevention requirements.
People who choose home quarantine should follow the one person per residence rule, the CECC said, but if people have traveled together, they can quarantine together.
If a person’s saliva-based test comes back positive, they will be required to quarantine for seven days and follow other protocols for confirmed cases.
If the test is negative, their quarantine period ends at midnight on the fourth day after they arrive in Taiwan.
After that, they will be subject to strict disease prevention protocols for another four days, during which they can only go out for certain purposes, Chen said.
People can go out to work or to buy necessities as long as they have tested negative using a rapid antigen test at home the same day or the previous day, he said.
They should avoid visiting crowded places, however, and follow social distancing rules, and they should not go to a hospital or clinic unless they have a medical emergency, according to the CECC.
Migrant workers, including fishermen, as well as students, are not allow to go to work or school, because of the higher risk of cluster infections, the CECC said.
In another new rule, air travelers will be allowed to transit through airports in Taiwan beginning June 15, according to the CECC.
Taiwan first introduced a 14-day quarantine to people traveling from the Chinese province of Hubei on Jan. 26, 2020, after Wuhan and other cities in Hubei were locked down on Jan. 23 due to the spread of COVID-19.
The border controls were gradually tightened until March 19, 2020, when Taiwan restricted entry of non-citizens, while a mandatory 14-day quarantine was imposed on all arrivals.
The quarantine period was cut to 10 days on March 7 this year, and to seven days on May 9.