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CECC announces new exemptions, fines to compulsory COVID-19 test rule

ROC Central News Agency

12/02/2020 10:10 PM

Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday announced new categories of travelers that are exempt from a new rule that requires all arrivals to present proof of a recent COVID-19 test, as well as details of the amount of fines for those who violate the rule.

Starting from Dec. 1, the CECC has required all inbound travelers to Taiwan, as well as transit passengers, to provide proof of a COVID-19 PCR test result issued within three days of their flight to Taiwan.

Exemptions announced previously by the CECC include individuals coming from countries where self-paid COVID-19 tests are unavailable, those in urgent situations and travelers who return to Taiwan within three days of their departure.

On Wednesday, the CECC said that individuals whose original flights to Taiwan were canceled are also exempt from the rule, although such travelers will have to present their original flight information, in addition to a COVID-19 test result within three days of the original flight.

Children under the age of seven and individuals who are traveling with people in urgent situations are also exempt from the rule, the CECC said.

These exemptions only apply to Taiwanese nationals, Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) holders and Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) holders.

Travelers in these categories who are unable to obtain a COVID-19 test result but do not qualify for exemption must sign an affidavit stating their circumstances before being allowed to return to Taiwan.

Individuals who do not have a valid test result -- whether they are exempt from the rule or not -- must obtain permission from their airline to board and must sit in a designated area on their flight.

Upon arrival in Taiwan, they must take a COVID-19 test at their own expense and undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, according to the CECC.

There are no exemptions for foreign nationals without residency in Taiwan, who are all required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result issued within three days of their flight before traveling to Taiwan, the CECC said.

While Taiwanese nationals, APRC and ARC holders who fail to present the required test result can still return to Taiwan, those who do not have a valid reason will be fined between NT$10,000 (US$345) and NT$150,000 under the Communicable Disease Control Act, the CECC said.

Travelers who fail to present a test result and have no explanation for it will be fined NT$10,000, as will people who make errors in filling out CECC forms and refuse to correct the errors.

Travelers who lie about having a valid test result or make up a false excuse for why they are unable to present one will be fined NT$30,000, while individuals who fail to cooperate with testing will be fined NT$50,000, the CECC said.

Individuals who obstruct or refuse to cooperate with CECC personnel on verification of test results will be fined NT$50,000 as well.

The harshest fine of NT$150,000 will be issued to those who present fraudulent COVID-19 test results, as well as those who obstruct or refuse to cooperate with CECC personnel on verification of test results and insult or threaten airport personnel during the process, the CECC said.

Individuals who are fined NT$150,000 will also be prosecuted, the CECC said.

On Dec. 1, the day the rule went into effect, a total of 1,141 people arrived in Taiwan on 26 flights and only two could not present COVID-19 test results, according to the CECC.

One of the travelers had presented a valid result prior to boarding their flight in Shanghai, but was unable to find it when they arrived in Taiwan, the CECC said.

After confirming with the airline that the traveler had presented a test result, the CECC arranged for the traveler to take a self-paid COVID-19 test before going into quarantine.

The other traveler departed Taiwan for Italy, but was forced to return due to lockdowns there, the CECC said.

That traveler also took a self-paid COVID-19 test and went into quarantine, the CECC said.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)


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