Taiwan to resume visa free entry for some countries in latest reopening step

The government has relaxed rather than tightened restrictions in what it calls the "new Taiwan model". PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI - Taiwan will resume visa-free entry for travellers from some countries, but will maintain a three-day quarantine requirement as the island takes halting steps towards easing its Covid-restrictions.

Arrivals from more than 60 countries – including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia – are eligible for visa-free entry starting from Sept 12, though the duration of their permitted stay varies, Taiwan’s Bureau of Consular Affairs said in a statement on its website Monday. 

Taiwan had kept its entry and quarantine rules in place as large parts of the rest of Asia have relaxed or lifted them completely, though in June it cut the number of days spent in isolation for arrivals to three from seven previously.

Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Centre chief Victor Wang told reporters the three days of quarantine and need for a PCR test upon arrival would remain for the time being, as well as the current cap on 50,000 arrivals a week.

Taiwan has reported more than 5.3 million domestic cases since the beginning of the year, driven by the more infectious Omicron variant.

But with more than 99 per cent of those exhibiting no or mild symptoms, the government has relaxed rather than tightened restrictions in what it calls the "new Taiwan model".

The latest decision was made based on the fact that most countries around the world have already reopened their borders and resumed pre-pandemic border measures and the need to balance epidemic prevention, economic and social activities and international exchanges.

Taiwan, which has a well vaccinated population, has already ended the requirement for pre-departure negative PCR tests.

Throughout the pandemic, Taiwanese and foreign residents have never been prohibited from leaving and then re-entering, though have had to quarantine either at home or in hotels.

Before the pandemic, Taiwan was a popular tourist destination for mainly Asian visitors, with Japan, South Korea and South-east Asia the most important markets. REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

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