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Homeland Security

Taiwan to allow return of young Chinese children with residence permits

ROC Central News Agency

07/15/2020 08:39 PM

Taipei, July 15 (CNA) Chinese children under the age of 2, who hold long-term Taiwan residence permits, will be allowed to return to the country from Thursday, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The policy, announced at the CECC's weekly press briefing Wednesday, marks the first easing of a ban on the entry of Chinese nationals, which was imposed Feb. 6 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the new rules, applications will be required for the entry of Chinese children under 2, they must hold a Taiwan residence permit and travel with a parent, and the relevant quarantine regulations must be observed upon arrival, the CECC said, specifying that the policy applies only to children born after July 6, 2018.

On the question of the modest scope of the policy, which will potentially admit an estimated 100 children, the CECC said it is assessing whether the age limit for minors should be lifted, taking into consideration both public health and humanitarian concerns.

"The lack of clarity on the state of the COVID-19 outbreak in China is actually one of the smaller issues," Health Minister and CECC Commander Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said.

The government's main concern is logistical planning to accommodate the "significant number" of people seeking to return, he added.

Also on Wednesday, the CECC updated the list of countries from which business travelers can apply for shorter quarantine periods upon arrival, classifying Myanmar as low risk, and Hong Kong as low to moderate.

Under the policy, which took effect on June 22, business travelers from countries classified as low risk can apply to have their quarantine lifted by taking a self-paid COVID-19 test on the fifth day after their arrival, while those from low-to-moderate risk countries can do so on the seventh day after arrival.

The updated list published by the CECC on Wednesday classified 12 countries and zones as low risk -- New Zealand, Macau, Palau, Fiji, Brunei, Vietnam, Thailand, Mongolia, Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

It listed South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Australia as low-to-moderate risk.

Taiwan reported no new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, keeping the total at 451, with seven fatalities, since the pandemic began late last year, according to the CECC.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Chen Wei-ting and Matthew Mazzetta)

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