Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Taiwan adjusts quarantine rules for travelers from Myanmar and Marshall Islands as of Sept. 19. Other border measures remain in effect.
Alert Begins 19 Sep 2020 05:15 AM UTC
Alert Expires 05 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Taiwan (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Travel and business disruptions
Officials in Taiwan continue to adjust restrictions on international travelers amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has removed Myanmar from its medium-risk country list amid a spike in COVID-19 activity. CECC officials also added the Marshall Islands to its low-risk list, as the country has not reported any COVID-19 cases. As of Sept. 19, the CECC classifies Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Fiji, Laos, Macau, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mongolia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam as low risk and Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore as medium risk. Business travelers arriving from low-risk areas must quarantine for five days at government-designated facilities, while those traveling from medium-risk destinations must quarantine for seven days. All travelers must undergo a COVID-19 test at their own expense before their release from quarantine.
Inbound travel for tourism and social reasons remains banned; however, the following exceptions to the entry ban and quarantine requirements are in effect:
- Authorities allow children under six years old from mainland China with residence permits to enter Taiwan with one parent, provided they can complete the 14-day self-quarantine requirement.
- The Ministry of Education is allowing all primary and secondary international students, including those from mainland China, to return to the island as of Aug. 19. Authorities will permit entries in phases due to quarantine requirements. Entry for foreign university students remains restricted to attendees from 19 low- and medium-risk countries, excluding mainland China.
- Officials are allowing essential, short-term business travel for residents from countries on the CECC's low- and medium-risk location list. Business travel must be less than three months for specific activities, such as product inspections, servicing, technical assistance or training, and finalizing contracts. To be eligible for entry, travelers must remain in their home location for two weeks before departure. Additionally, business visitors must provide documentation from a local entity with the reason for the trip, full travel itinerary, a disease prevention plan, and the results of a COVID-19 test.
- The government is allowing international travelers to apply for entry to Taiwan for medical care; the measure does not include aesthetic procedures and health checks. Applicants must apply at their local Taiwan diplomatic mission and present evidence of adequate health insurance, an affidavit for mandatory quarantine of 14 days, a health declaration, and a disease prevention plan from the treating facility. Approved travelers can bring two people, including family members, to Taiwan during their care; a third companion may be allowed entry if they are a caregiver or healthcare worker.
- Residents from Hong Kong and Macau can apply for entry for humanitarian and emergency reasons, to fulfill contractual agreements, or as part of a transfer within multinationals.
- Officials permit foreign nationals possessing Alien Resident Certificates (ARCs), as well as Hong Kong and Macau citizens with residence permits, to enter the island without a negative COVID-19 test.
- Foreign nationals can apply to enter Taiwan for internships and training programs, conferences and trade shows, exchange programs, volunteering, missionary activities, and job searches, among others.
- Officials will allow people in self-isolation or quarantine to apply to leave for up to two hours every other day for compassionate reasons, such as to attend or plan a relative's funeral or visit a severely ill relative. The option is only available if the returning traveler has been in isolation for at least five days, asymptomatic, and pays for a COVID-19 test before leaving isolation.
Officials require all foreigners allowed into Taiwan to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) COVID-19 test obtained within three business days of their departing flight. Health officials continue intensified screenings for arriving passengers, including blood samples from passengers who display or report respiratory symptoms or fever. Officials are conducting COVID-19 tests on all arriving passengers from the Philippines. Passengers bound for Taiwan who do not accurately report their travel and medical history could face fines of up to NTD 150,000 (USD 5,000).
Most arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days, except low- and medium-risk countries and travelers from the Philippines. Taiwan requires all arriving passengers from the Philippines to quarantine for 14 days in government-designated facilities due to an increase in imported cases. Foreign nationals, except those with ARC or resident visas, arriving from the Philippines must pay for quarantine at TWD 1,500 (USD 51) per day. Authorities also require some inbound travelers from Southeast Asian countries to undergo a 14-day quarantine at government-designated hotels; officials will direct arriving passengers living with people with chronic illnesses, children below six years old, or adults above 65 years old to the facilities. All travelers must pay for a COVID-19 test before their release from quarantine.
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) is allowing people to transit; however, passengers must connect with the same airline through TPE and limit connections in Taiwan to eight hours. Officials have cleared China Airlines (CI), EVA Air (BR), and Cathay Pacific (CX) to operate transit flights, but connecting flights to or from mainland China remain banned. Taiwan is maintaining limits on flights to mainland China indefinitely. Under the measures, airlines are only allowed to fly to airports in Beijing (PEK), Shanghai (SHA, PVG), Xiamen (XMN), and Chengdu (CTU), though officials are reportedly planning to approve more cities in the coming weeks. China Airlines and EVA Air continue to cancel most flight services to mainland China. Taiwan is maintaining a ban on cruise ships.
Under CECC requirements, companies must ensure customers can maintain 1.5 meters (5 feet) of distance inside establishments, require patrons to wear protective face coverings when distancing is not possible, implement temperature checks, and participate in contact tracing efforts. Officials have installed thermal scanners at rail stations, airports, ports, post offices, and bus hubs. Staff will deny entry to any passenger with a fever. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications requires passengers at transport hubs, inter-city buses, and highway rest stops and customers at Chunghwa Post offices to wear protective face coverings. Authorities may not require masks onboard transport after customers pass temperature checks and provide contact information unless there is inadequate space for social distancing. Enhanced screening measures could cause delays at transport hubs across the island, especially at airports in Taipei (TPE, TSA) and Kaohsiung (KHH) and main railway stations.
Postpone travel to Taiwan if affected by travel restrictions. Confirm entry requirements before traveling to Taiwan. Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for health screenings when arriving in or traveling across Taiwan. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny, delays, and quarantine.
Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.