TAIPEI, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Taiwan plans to end mandatory COVID-19 quarantines for arrivals starting around Oct. 13 and will begin easing other restrictions next week while continuing to reopen to the outside world, the government said on Thursday. .
Taiwan has kept some entry and quarantine rules in place, while much of the rest of Asia has loosened or lifted them entirely, though in June it reduced the number of quarantine days required for arrivals to three days from the previous seven.
Taiwan has reported 6 million domestic cases since the start of the year, driven by the more contagious Omicron variant. With more than 99 percent showing no or only mild symptoms, the government has eased rather than tightened restrictions in the “New Taiwan Model.”
Cabinet spokesman Luo Bingzheng told reporters that from next Thursday, citizens of all countries that previously had visa-free status will resume visa-free entry. He said the government would also increase the weekly international tourist arrival limit by 10,000 to 60,000 and would no longer conduct PCR tests on arrivals.
If “everything is under control,” Lo said, the government plans to end the mandatory quarantine for all arrivals from around October 13, increasing weekly arrivals to 150,000.
“This is our last mile in the fight against the virus,” he said after a weekly cabinet meeting, adding that the government was making all the necessary preparations to reopen its doors to international tourists and revive the economy that was previously affected by the new crown epidemic. affected domestic companies. limit.
But people who test positive will still need to quarantine at home or in designated hotels, the government said.
Despite Taiwan’s high vaccination rates, daily case numbers are rising again, with more than 46,000 cases reported on Wednesday.
Throughout the pandemic, Taiwanese citizens and foreign residents have not been barred from leaving and re-entering, but must quarantine at home or in hotels for up to two weeks.
Before the outbreak, Taiwan was a major tourist destination for Asian tourists, with Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia being the most important markets.
Reporting by Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Kenneth Maxwell
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