Over 50% of China Travellers to Italy Reportedly Tested Positive for COVID-19


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that China will be officially reopening its borders entirely on 8 January.

No, that’s not next year. It’s next week.

In response to China’s decision to fully relax its COVID-19 management measures for travellers, Taiwan carried out Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 tests on all passengers travelling via the four flights from China to Taiwan yesterday (1 January).

The results were announced by the Central Epidemic Control Centre (CECC) in Taiwan today (2 January).

Out of the 524 people who underwent COVID-19 testing, 27.8%, or 146 passengers, ended up with positive COVID-19 test results.

And that’s not all.

According to various sources in Taiwan, 62 out of 120 passengers on a flight that travelled from China to Italy tested positive for COVID-19 after landing, bringing the total percentage of COVID-positive passengers on the flight to 52%.

Previously, it was reported on 31 December last year that “almost half” of the 212 Chinese passengers that arrived in Italy on 25 December ended up testing positive for COVID-19.

With that, several countries, such as Japan, have announced that they will step up their COVID-19 restrictions towards Chinese travellers.

Amongst other measures, these new restrictions include producing a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to enter the country.

Number of COVID-Positive Patients May Stabilise in Days to Come

However, while the numbers may seem startling (and scary), it looks like these numbers might only exist for now.

According to Chuang Jen-Hsiang, the spokesperson for the CECC in Taiwan, the values obtained on the first day of testing are just “for reference”, and the values will stabilise over the next few days.

However, he also mentioned that the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests is higher than the last time they conducted these tests for travellers entering Taiwan.

He revealed that the local health authorities will inform the COVID-positive individuals of their positive COVID-19 tests by today (2 January). In particular, individuals will be required to give specimens to prove whether they have tested positive for COVID-19 or not before the local health authorities notify them individually.

As for how this will impact the COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, it will depend on the results of the viral genome sequencing.

The local health bureau will notify each case one by one after the completion of uploading and notification of the specimens of these confirmed cases.


Mr Chuang added that the dominant variants of the COVID-19 disease in China are the BF.7 and BA.5.2 variants.

As for which variant was the most prominent among the passengers who tested positive for COVID-19 after flying from China to Taiwan, he explained that the test results for the viral genome sequencing would only be out on Friday (6 January).

The CECC will address the public again after the test results are out.

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Taiwan’s Current COVID-19 Policies for Travellers

From midnight on 1 January to 31 January (based on the time of arrival in Taiwan) this year, Taiwan will require travellers who enter the country via the four direct flights from China and the “Three Links” between mainland China and Taiwan to undergo PCR tests when entering Taiwan.

Afterwards, they can return to their places of residence for a seven-day quarantine while they wait for the results of their COVID-19 tests.


For now, Taiwan will only allow Chinese citizens to enter Taiwan for business or family purposes; Chinese tourists are still not allowed in the country for the time being.

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