No plan to tighten restrictions on travelers as China eases rules: CECC
ROC Central News Agency
12/27/2022 10:40 PM
Taipei, Dec. 27 (CNA) Taiwan will not follow Japan and tighten restrictions on inbound travelers from China as Beijing prepares to significantly relax its COVID-19 prevention rules next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said on Tuesday.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced tightened rules on screening travelers from China on Tuesday, one day after China unveiled a series of eased measures for quarantining and tracking people testing positive for COVID-19, including the cancellation of mandatory quarantine, contact tracing, high and low-risk zones and disease prevention tests on people and shipments at customs, scheduled to be introduced on Jan. 8.
Responding to media queries about whether Taiwan would also tighten controls relating to travelers from China, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (èŽŠäººç¥¥) said Taiwan's policy on travelers from China will remain the same as that for travelers from other countries and regions.
All arriving travelers are to be handed rapid antigen testing kits, and those who test positive for COVID-19 are required to go into quarantine for five days and monitor their health until they test negative for the disease, Chuang said.
The CECC will closely monitor the COVID-19 situation in China and adjust its policy on travelers from China if necessary, he said.
Asked to comment on the CECC's decision to retain the existing rules on travelers from China, Huang Li-min (é»ƒç«‹æ°‘), a physician at the National Taiwan University Children's Hospital, said the current rules should be enough for now considering the small number of inbound travelers from China.
The number of imported COVID-19 cases from China remains to be seen, and the most important thing for now is to make sure everybody understands and follows Taiwan's quarantine rule for those infected with the disease, he said.
While no new COVID-19 variants have currently been detected in China, Huang suggested conducting universal genome sequencing of inbound travelers from China to detect any new mutant strains at the earliest opportunity.
With the number of people contracting COVID-19 rising past 20,000 on Tuesday and cities and counties recording a 30-50 percent increase in the number of confirmed cases compared to a week ago, Huang forecast that the peak season for COVID-19 infections will fall in late January, when the daily numbers of confirmed cases is likely to reach 50,000.
Separately on Tuesday, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (é‚±åž‚æ£) said the MAC would explore the possibility of increasing the number of flights from China to Taiwan to ensure that all Taiwanese working in China who want to return home for the holiday will be able to book flights.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were more than 200 flights between Taiwan and Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Chengdu weekly, but China currently allows only 29 as part of its measures to curb the spread of the virus, Chiu said.
A Taiwanese businessman working in China, surnamed Chen (é™³), told CNA that China's near-cancellation of COVID-19 prevention rules could motivate more Taiwanese to return home for the holiday now they do not have to quarantine.
However, the shortage of flights between Taiwan and China could cause delays in their return trips, which is bound to discourage some Taiwanese from returning home, Chen said.
(By Chen Chieh-ling, Wu Po-wei and Sean Lin)
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