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Homeland Security

Taiwan approves first 'economic bubble' visit

ROC Central News Agency

11/11/2020 07:11 PM

Taipei, Nov. 11 (CNA) Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) confirmed Wednesday that the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has given the green light to an "economic bubble" visit, the first of its kind in Taiwan since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

The Ministry of Economics Affairs (MOEA) revealed on Tuesday that an American electronics company will be the first allowed to visit Taiwan under "economic bubble" rules, which exempt them from required quarantine procedures, after CECC approval.

"It is a kind of assistance in promoting commercial activities," said Chen, who also heads the CECC, at the center's weekly press briefing. Such "economic bubbles" will only be permitted when necessary, urgent and irreplaceable, he noted.

In addition, the MOEA is also required to present a plan detailing the legal responsibility of the host party to keep visitors separate from the local population, Chen said, and that the health ministry will review such plans and help with their execution.

According to the MOEA, there will be fewer than nine members in the American business group, which will be in Taiwan for three days to discuss investment proposals. The group will also be accompanied by ministry personnel for the duration of their stay.

However the MOEA did not disclose the name of the company, date of the visit, planned schedule of the delegation, nor details of its investment plans, reportedly as part of a confidentiality agreement between the two sides.

Government sources said although the foreign business group is exempt from quarantine requirements under the "economic bubble" visit rules, its members will still be required to take a COVID-19 test during their three-day stay.

Chen said earlier in the day that "economic bubbles" can take different forms, but for them to be approved the MOEA will have to explain the potential benefits to the nation.

The minister also said that Singapore has expressed a desire to undertake bilateral "economic bubble" business visits.

Taiwan welcomes such proposals, but they will only be allowed to go ahead with a quarantine plan that separates visitors and Taiwan nationals, Chen said, without providing more information.

Currently in Taiwan, business travelers from countries deemed to be low-to-moderate or low risk for COVID-19 can apply to have their quarantine shortened from 14 days, as long as they have a negative COVID-19 test taken no later than three days before traveling to Taiwan and take a self-paid test at the end of their quarantine period that also comes back negative.

Those from low-risk countries can apply to have their quarantine lifted on the fifth day after their arrival, while those from low-to-moderate risk countries can do so after seven days.

(By Lin Yu-hsuan, Kuo Chien-shen and Elizabeth Hsu)

Enditem/AW



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