Taiwan sees no new COVID-19 cases, mulling easing test rules
ROC Central News Agency
07/15/2020 05:43 PM
Taipei, July 15 (CNA) Taiwan reported no new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, keeping the total at 451 since the pandemic began late last year, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
To date, 440 of Taiwan's 451 COVID-19 patients have recovered, seven have died and four remain in hospital quarantine, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at a CECC press briefing.
With few COVID-19 cases at home, the CECC is hoping to create an environment more open to inbound foreign travel.
Chen said Wednesday it is studying the possibility of relaxing Taiwan's new entry regulations that took effect on June 29.
Those rules required foreign nationals that are allowed to apply to enter Taiwan for reasons other than tourism and social visits to provide a negative COVID-19 test certificate three days before leaving for Taiwan, but Chen said the requirement is being reconsidered because of difficulties in getting the test in many countries.
Instead, travelers who cannot obtain a negative COVID-19 test certificate in foreign countries might be required to get a test upon arrival in Taiwan, according to CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥).
Meanwhile, Myanmar has been added to a list of countries that Taiwan deems low or low-to-moderate risk.
The latest CECC list of low risk countries and zones published on July 15 includes New Zealand, Macau, Palau, Fiji, Brunei, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Mongolia, Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
It also classified South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Australia as low-to-moderate risk countries.
Business travelers arriving from those countries and territories can have their mandatory 14-day quarantine after arrival shortened to only five to seven days if their COVID-19 test is negative, according to a separate CECC statement.
Taiwan opened its doors to business travelers from low and low-to-moderate risk countries on June 22, with the lists of countries updated every two weeks to reflect the latest developments.
Taiwan has banned entry to most foreign nationals since March 19 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, except for those who hold an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) or documents proving they are in Taiwan for diplomatic purposes, or to fulfill business contracts.
Globally, COVID-19 has infected 13,294,181 people in 187 countries and regions, including 3,490,308 in the United States, 1,926,824 in Brazil, 906,752 in India, 739,947 in Russia and 333,867 in Peru, with a total of 578,215 fatalities, according to CECC statistics as of Wednesday.
(By Chen Wei-ting, Chang Ming-hsuan and Evelyn Kao)
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