Taiwan bans foreigners in bid to curb spread of COVID-19

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2020 04:17 PM | Updated as of Mar 19 2020 04:18 PM

Taiwan bans foreigners in bid to curb spread of COVID-19 1
Travelers arrive at the airport as the Taiwanese government announced a ban for most foreigners entering the island, as part of preventive measures against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Taoyuan International airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan, March 18, 2020. Ann Wang, Reuters

MANILA - The Taiwanese government will prohibit foreign nationals from entering the country starting Thursday, March 19, to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Foreigners with resident visas, members of diplomatic corps, those fulfilling commercial and contractual obligations and requiring special permission are exempted from the ban, according to the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

New arrivals, however, are obliged to spend 14 days in self-isolation following regulations by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

"Relevant government agencies shall be responsible for any necessary arrangements regarding their lodging, movements, and work venues in Taiwan," the foreign affairs ministry said in an advisory.

Taiwan may also grant special entry permits “when there are clear and urgent reasons for a foreign national to visit Taiwan based on, for example, humanitarian grounds or approval by competent authorities in Taiwan.”

Those requiring special permission to visit Taiwan may also present relevant documents to National Immigration Agency personnel at the port of entry, “who will then make a decision whether to approve entry.”

Travel restrictions are subject to change depending on the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, the foreign affairs ministry added.

The self-governing territory has recorded 77 coronavirus infections as of Wednesday, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed.

Nearly 160,000 Filipinos live and work in Taiwan, mainly in factories and as household helpers. - Report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News