Creating a line of defense at the border and keeping the virus out
At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, China and the WHO were still unclear about the transmission events of COVID-19, and there was a lack of transparency regarding related information. Therefore, we made border control policies to keep the virus out and prevent disease from spreading in Taiwan.
President Tsai Ing-Wen inspects the border quarantine station at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
Decisions and Measures
At the beginning of the pandemic, implementing strict border and quarantine measures to keep the virus at bay
I. Border quarantine measures:
(I) From December 31, 2019 to January 23, 2020, onboard quarantine was conducted on direct flights entering from Wuhan. Subsequently, the initiation of border controls such as border quarantine response measures, strengthening fever screening of entering travelers, implementing investigations of the travel history, occupation, contact history, and cluster circumstances of suspected cases were utilized to perform health assessments and promote health education.
Subsequently, the initiation of border controls such as border quarantine response measures, strengthening fever screening of entering travelers, implementing investigations of the travel history, occupation, contact history, and cluster circumstances of suspected cases were utilized to perform health assessments and promote health education.
(II) On February 16, 2020, the “Quarantine System for Entry” went online. With the system, passengers can enter their health information online prior to their flights or upon entry, and the health declaration pass is automatically sent via SMS upon arrival in Taiwan, so that passengers can show the pass on their phones upon arrival and quickly clear customs, thus improving the efficiency of border control.
II. Risk control
(I) On January 26, 2020, Chinese nationals from Hubei were prohibited from entering.
(II) Starting on February 6, 2020, citizens with a travel history in China, Hong Kong, and Macau must quarantine at home for 14 days. International cruise ships were prohibited from docking at Taiwan’s ports.
(III) On February 11, 2020, all Chinese nationals were barred from entry, and all travelers were required to fill out a “Health Declaration Form”.
(IV) Starting on March 19, 2020, foreign nationals were prohibited from entry (excluding ARC holders and those with special permission). All travelers entering the country must quarantine for 14 days.
(V) Starting on March 21, 2020, travel notices for all countries increased to Level 3: Warning.
(VI) On March 24, 2020, a ban was imposed on foreigner travelers transiting through Taiwan.
Adjusting entry restrictions on a rolling basis based on the global pandemic situation
Thanks to the solidarity and concerted epidemic prevention efforts of front-line epidemic prevention workers, medical workers, and members of the public, Taiwan successfully kept the number of confirmed cases at a low level in the first wave of COVID-19 infections in China, the second wave in Europe and the United States, and the subsequent global outbreak. In June 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down in China, the CECC then launched the New Lifestyle for Disease Prevention campaign to encourage people to return to a normal life. However, COVID-19 continues to spread and the virus keeps mutates, resulting in new variants such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron at the end of 2020. Due to the high uncertainty over the disease's transmissibility and severity, tight border controls remain to be Taiwan's main strategy to respond to the pandemic with entry restrictions and enhanced quarantine measures in place. Entry restrictions and transit travel rules are adjusted on a rolling basis based on the global COVID-19 situation and the effectiveness of implementation of border control measures.
I.Entry requirements for foreigners and people from Hong Kong and Macao
(I) Short-term business travelers
1. The CECC issued the Regulations concerning short-term business travelers’applications for shortened quarantine periods in Taiwan. From June 22, 2020, short-term business travelers could apply for a shortened quarantine period of 5 or 7 days depending on the risk level of infection at the place of departure.
2. On January 1, 2021, as the global pandemic situation worsened, a 14-day period of quarantine was reinstated for short-term business travelers, except those who had obtained permission.
3. Effective from March 1, 2021, people from low-moderate risk countries/regions were allowed again to apply for shortened quarantine periods in Taiwan.
(II) Entry of migrant workers
In response to trends in the global pandemic situation, the CECC has adjusted the entry requirements for migrant workers coming to Taiwan on a rolling basis. Enhanced self-health management was enforced among migrant workers on December 9, 2020; migrant workers would need to undergo self-health management for 7 days after completing the 14-day quarantine at a government quarantine facility or at home. Employers or brokerage firms were required to keep a record of migrant workers' quarantine dates and period, self-health management locations, and other relevant information, so as to track whereabouts of migrant workers and facilitate follow-up care provided by local governments. However, in view of the surges in global and domestic COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Labor, in line with the CECC instructions, enacted a temporary entry ban for migrant workers from May 19, 2021. Related measures were adjusted according to the pandemic situation in migrant workers' home countries; these adjustments included the rules that placed migrant workers in government quarantine facilities upon entry and required tests to be done at the end of their quarantine period. Additionally, in order to cater to the needs of industries and demand for caregivers, the introduction of migrant workers was permitted on a case by case basis beginning November 11, 2021. In the first stage, migrant workers were required to stay in government quarantine facilities after entry, undergo PCR testing prior to entry, and be isolated in individual rooms for 72 hours prior to boarding. Upon entry, their deep throat saliva samples would be collected for PCR testing before they were transported to group quarantine facilities to quarantine for 14 days, during which they must undergo PCR and rapid testing. After the 14-day quarantine, they must practice 7 days of self-health management at a location designated by the Ministry of Labor.
(III) Foreign students studying in Taiwan
For overseas students returning to Taiwan to study, the Ministry of Education flexibly has drawn up/adjusted the standard operating procedures and relevant supporting measures for overseas students returning to Taiwan for studies in accordance with the guidelines and regulations issued by the CECC, while balancing "safety and epidemic prevention" and "overseas students' right to education".
(IV) Patients coming to Taiwan for medical treatment
The CECC adjusted the relevant regulations for foreign nationals eligible to visit Taiwan for medical treatment after considering the stability of domestic COVID-19 situation and medical treatment capacity, so as to sustain Taiwan's high-quality medical services and contributions and continue to realize the spirit of "Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping!"
(V) Transit passengers in Taiwan
In accordance with the principle of "strict border controls and loosened domestic restrictions" and based on the global COVID-19 situation, international passengers would be allowed to transit through Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
II. Taiwanese nationals stranded abroad
Between February and May of 2020, charter/special return flights were used to carry Taiwanese nationals stranded on the Diamond Princess cruise, Wuhan, India, and other areas affected by COVID-19. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport initiated anchorage quarantine and implemented quarantine protocols including traveler separation, fever screening, and health assessments by doctors. Asymptomatic travelers were transported to group quarantine facilities and suspected cases were provided with medical attention to enhance the management of individuals at risk of infection.
CECC Commander Chen Shih-Chung personally supervises the process of charter flights back to Taiwan from Wuhan.
III. Special measures to improve quarantine efficiency
(I) Travelers entering Taiwan from abroad must provide a COVID-19 PCR test report prior to boarding
From December 1, 2020, all travelers coming to Taiwan, regardless of status or purpose of visit, must provide a COVID-19 PCR test report issued within three days of their incoming flight's scheduled departure time. In response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant globally at the end of 2021, an adjustment was made and became effective starting January 4, 2022, to require travelers to provide a PCR test report within two calendar days calculated based on the “specimen collection date". The CECC continues to observe the developments of the global coronavirus situation and consider humanitarian reasons, business and economic exchanges, festivals, and other factors to further evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of border policies to make timely adjustments.
(II) The CECC enhanced quarantine measures and health monitoring for inbound passengers and domestic airline crew
Due to the Delta variant’s global spread, all travelers were requested to stay in quarantine hotels (or self-pay group quarantine facilities) to complete quarantine after arrival beginning on June 27, 2021. Travelers entering Taiwan were required to ride in quarantine vehicles from the airport to their place of quarantine. Additionally, from July 2, 2021, travelers must have their deep-throat saliva samples collected for PCR testing at the airport/port of entry as well as take PCR and rapid tests at the end of their quarantine period. Virus genome sequencing and enhanced surveillance were carried out for all imported cases. At the end of 2021, there was an uptick in the number of imported cases due to the influx of returnees for the Spring Festival. On December 16, the measure to increase mandatory tests for inbound passengers after their return was announced and implemented; a total of six tests were required, which were one test on the day of arrival, one each on the 3rd, 7th, 10th and 14th days of quarantine, and one on the 6th or 7th day of self-health management.
On July 12, quarantine measures for domestic airline flight crew members returning to Taiwan were adjusted in order to ensure their health and safety at workplace and safeguard domestic disease prevention efforts: crew members returning to Taiwan from key high-risk countries should observe a 14-day home quarantine (a PCR test required on the last day. Effective from May 9, 2022, the mandatory quarantine for arrivals has been shortened to 7 days; a 7-day self-health management remain required for arrivals starting the eighth day. Effective from June 15, 2022, a cap of 25,000 arrivals per week has been put in place. In principle, arrivals should undergo the three-day quarantine and four-day self-initiated epidemic prevention in the same location. The previous seven-day self-health management has been terminated. Furthermore, quarantine and disease prevention and control measures for domestic airline crew members have also been changed to adopt the principle of replacing quarantine with testing.
- Last Updated:2022-07-19
- Data Source:Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare
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