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Taiwan to indefinitely suspend entry of Indonesian migrant workers

ROC Central News Agency

12/16/2020 09:15 PM

Taipei, Dec. 16 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday said Taiwan will suspend entry of Indonesian migrant workers into the country indefinitely, as Indonesia has been unable to improve the accuracy of its COVID-19 test results.

Taiwan temporarily suspended entry of Indonesian migrant workers on Dec. 4 amid rising cases from the country. The CECC said at the time that a decision would be made on whether to extend or remove the restriction based on the situation in Indonesia.

According to Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, the spread of the virus in Indonesia has not eased, with the country reporting around 6,000 daily cases last week.

Another problem is the credibility of the COVID-19 test results issued in Indonesia, which has worsened over time, Chen said at a press conference.

In October, 11 Indonesians were confirmed with COVID-19 in Taiwan, of which two had proof of a negative COVID-19 test result issued in Indonesia within three days of their flights, Chen said.

In November, 42 of the 81 Indonesians who tested positive in Taiwan had such results, which is more than half of the total. Between Dec. 1-15, 32 of the 40 positive cases from Indonesia, or 80 percent, had proof of a negative COVID-19 test result issued within three days of their flight, according to Chen.

"These test results have become more inaccurate over time," Chen said. "We are not sure what the problem is."

The CECC and Taiwan's representative office in Indonesia has communicated with Indonesian authorities on the issue, but there has been no progress over Taiwan's request that Indonesia improve the accuracy of its test results, Chen said.

"They think they are doing a good job, which is something we do not have a consensus on," Chen said.

Until Indonesia improves on this front, Taiwan will continue to suspend entry of Indonesian migrants, he said, adding that the CECC will monitor the situation in Indonesia to decide when to lift the entry ban on Indonesian migrant workers.

In a statement issued by the CECC on Wednesday, it said that employers who need to employ migrant workers for long-term care can call the 1966 hotline for assistance, or contact government long-term care centers in their city or county.

Families who are eligible to hire a migrant worker but choose to hire a Taiwanese caregiver instead are entitled to subsidies from the Ministry of Labor (MOL), the CECC said.

The MOL also said Wednesday that employers who were originally planning on hiring migrant workers from Indonesia but have decided to hire workers from Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand will have to re-certify their proposed work contracts.

It has contacted the representative offices of those countries to speed up the certification process, the ministry said.

Employers' permits to hire migrant workers will be automatically extended by three months if they were due to expire from Dec. 16 to March 16 next year, the MOL added.

(By Chiang Yi-ching and Wu Hsin-yun)

Enditem/AW



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