Last Updated on 2022-09-29 , 2:56 pm
Earlier in September, the Taiwan Bureau of Consular Affairs said that it was going to allow travel to Taiwan without visas, whereby visitors could stay there for up to 30 days.
The very next day (6 Sep), it retracted the statement, saying that it was a misunderstanding on everyone else’s part.
It threw people for a loop slightly, because was Taiwan going to open its borders or not?
First of The Three Stage Plan
Taiwan intends to end its mandatory COVID-19 quarantine for arrivals by 12 October, said the Taipei government on Thursday (22 Sep).
Rather than an abrupt shift in gears, the self-ruled island will be gradually easing the restrictions from next week onwards, while monitoring the situation before moving on to the next phase.
Starting from 29 September, the weekly arrival limit for international travellers will be increased from 50,000 to 60,000.
Visa-free entry will be resumed for citizens of all countries that previously held that status, said Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng.
There are 67 countries in the visa-free entry category, and it includes Singapore.
Travellers will no longer need to take deep-throat saliva polymerase chain (PCR) tests and will instead be given four antigen rapid test (ART) kits upon arrival.
Second and Third Stage
The second stage will include the removal of the mandatory three-day quarantine and allow anyone to visit the island.
However, the date of the second stage will only be announced after the Taipei government reviews the first two weeks of the border reopening.
If everything goes as planned, the second-stage measures will come into effect on 13 October.
The arrival cap will be raised to 150,000.
Furthermore, the country will shift to a “0+7” policy.
This means that travellers will no longer have to be quarantined for three days, but they will have to undertake seven days of self-monitoring.
Should a traveller test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival, they will still need to be quarantined at a home or designated hotel.
During the second stage, local travel agencies will also be allowed to organise inbound and outbound tours.
This news will certainly come as a relief to travel agencies, as they have not been allowed to facilitate trips to Taiwan since early 2020.
Little is known about the third stage yet, but it can be presumed that the end goal of this plan is to return to pre-pandemic conditions.
Mr Lo said that this was the “last mile” in Taiwan’s fight against the coronavirus, adding that it was necessary to reopen the doors to international tourists to revitalise the domestic business that were impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions.
Current COVID-19 Situation in Taiwan
It may have been odd for Taiwan to oscillate on its foreign policy previously, but it is not without reason.
Despite having 86% of its eligible population vaccinated, Taiwan’s daily caseload has gone above 46,000 on Wednesday (21 Sep). But on Thursday, it dropped to 42,470.
Taiwan has seen six million domestic COVID-19 cases in this year alone, but the fortunate part is that more than 99% of the infected had mild to no symptoms, according to official data.
Wang Pi-sheng, the head of Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre warns that the second stage may be delayed if the number of new cases rises sharply after the first stage is initiated on 29 September.
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