Taiwan bars entry to foreigners in ramped up coronavirus measures

Taipei, Mar 18 (efe-epa).- Taiwanese authorities on Wednesday unveiled tougher immigration measures that will bar foreign nationals from entering the country as part of their efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19, which has infected some 200,000 people around the world since the outbreak began late last year.

The restrictions will be applied from Thursday and will affect everyone with the exception of those who hold an alien resident certificate (ARC) and those with diplomatic clearance, the Central Epidemic Command Center said.

Chen Shih-chung, the health minister and head of the CECC, said the new rules on immigration were necessary after authorities detected a spike in Covid-19 cases stemming mainly from Taiwanese nationals coming home from abroad.

Taiwan has registered 100 coronavirus cases as of Wednesday, including one death. A significant number of those cases are imported from foreign territories.

Chen said all Taiwanese citizens and documented foreign nationals arriving in Taiwan would have to go into self-isolation at home for a period of 14 days. Those who do self-quarantine will be compensated NT$1,000 (approx. US$33) per day by the government.

This measure will affect around 16,000 people who arrived in Taiwan between 4-15 March, government sources told the country’s official Central News Agency.

Most of those arrivals came from Europe, where Italy and Spain are battling to keep coronavirus outbreaks under control. Both countries are on full lockdown as health authorities struggle to keep up with thousands of confirmed cases of Covid-19.

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto United States embassy, and Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday they would cooperate on combating the Covid-19 virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, by researching and developing rapid tests, vaccines and medicines.

The US and Taiwan cooperation will also share knowledge in contact tracing techniques as well as technology, hold joint conferences with scientists and experts, and exchange medical supplies and equipment.

In related news, Taiwan has raised its travel alert to the highest Level 3 for over 100 countries. Level 3 travel alert requires people to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days when they come to Taiwan.EFE-EPA


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