By Roy Mabasa
Taiwan will bar foreign nationals from entering the country beginning Thursday, March 19, 2020, as part of the series of measures taken to mitigate the effect of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
According to Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), exemptions will be granted to Alien Resident Certificate holders, personnel on diplomatic or official business, persons who can prove they are fulfilling commercial and contractual obligations, and persons requiring special permission.
However, the CECC said the exempted foreign nationals must observe a 14-day home quarantine upon arrival while relevant government agencies will be responsible for necessary arrangements concerning lodging, movements, and work venues in Taiwan.
It added that the entry restrictions are subject to change depending on the development of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Earlier, the CECC announced that about 16,000 people who arrived in Taiwan from 27 European countries, Turkey, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates from March 3 to 14 will be subjected to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The CECC identified the European countries as France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece, Malta, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.
Taiwanese authorities urged these nationalities to report for home quarantine by calling 1999 or visiting the websites of the Ministry of the Interior, county, or city government.
Those who report voluntarily to the nearest local government will be given quarantine compensation, while those who lie about their travel history will be fined, the CECC said.
As of March 18, there are about 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Taiwan, 71 of which have been classified as “imported.”
Taiwan health authorities are also monitoring the condition of 17 individuals who showed symptoms of infection during and after traveling from various countries, including one who visited the Philippines.