Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Taiwan removes Australia, Hong Kong from low-risk list as of July 23. Entry possible for medical reasons Aug. 1. Social distancing ongoing.
- Alert Begins: 23 Jul 2020 07:02 AM UTC
- Alert Expires: 14 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Taiwan (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Social distancing measures, entry restrictions, increased immigration and customs screening times, quarantine measures, flight disruptions
Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has removed Hong Kong and Australia from its list of low- and medium-risk areas due to increasing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity in those locations as of July 23. Travelers from Hong Kong and Australia will have to observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine. The CECC classifies Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Fiji, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, New Zealand, Palau, Thailand, and Vietnam as low risk, and Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Sri Lanka as medium risk.
The government will allow international travelers to apply for entry for medical care starting Aug. 1; 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 is possible if they are a caregiver or healthcare worker.
As of July 23, travel for tourism and social reasons remains banned. However, the following exceptions to the entry ban and quarantine requirements are in effect:
- The Ministry of Education is now allowing all final year students to return to the island. Students of all levels traveling from low- and medium-risk locations can enter Taiwan.
- Officials are allowing essential, short-term business travel for residents from low- and medium-risk locations. 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 the two weeks before departure. Additionally, business visitors must provide documentation from a local entirety for the reason of the trip, full travel itinerary, a disease prevention plan, and results of a COVID-19 test.
- People visiting from low-risk areas must only quarantine for five days, while those traveling from medium-risk destinations must quarantine for seven days; isolation will occur at government-designated facilities. Travelers will also have to pay for another COVID-19 test before their release.
- 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 an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) and 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 and 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 to 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.
All arrivals, except business travelers from low- and medium-risk countries, must self-quarantine for 14 days. Authorities 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. Officials require all people 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. Passengers bound for Taiwan that do not accurately report their travel and medical history could face fines of up to NTD 150,000 (USD 5,000).
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. However, 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. CA and BR continue to cancel most flight services to mainland China. Taiwan is maintaining a ban on cruise ships.
Authorities have lifted gathering restrictions on the island. The CECC has also ended passenger volume restrictions for highway service areas, national parks, and amusement parks. Most major cities have already opened nonessential businesses. Under CECC requirements, companies must ensure customers can maintain 1.5 meters (5 feet) of distance inside establishments, require patrons to wear masks when distancing is not possible, implement temperature checks, and participate in contact tracing efforts.
Transport has also resumed across the island. Officials have also installed thermal scanners at rail stations, airports, ports, post offices, and bus hubs. Staff will deny entry for any passenger with a fever. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications requires that passengers at transport hubs and inter-city buses, highway rest stops, and customers at Chunghwa Post offices wear masks. However, 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.