Wed, Feb 05, 2020 - Page 1 News List

Virus Outbreak: Foreigners face new entry restrictions

ON ALERT:The CECC has designated China’s Zhejiang Province a secondary epidemic area, as 829 coronavirus infections were confirmed there as of Monday

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung gives an update on the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, at the government’s epidemic response command center in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

Due to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in China, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced that foreign nationals who have visited China within the previous two weeks would be denied entry into Taiwan starting on Friday, adding that it has also listed China’s Zhejiang Province as a secondary epidemic area.

Starting on Friday, foreign nationals who have visited or resided in China — excluding Hong Kong and Macau — within the previous 14 days would be prohibited from entering Taiwan, MOFA Bureau of Consular Affairs director-general Phoebe Yeh (葉非比) told a CECC news conference.

The restriction includes those who are eligible for visa-free treatment, landing visas and e-visas, as well as those who have valid visas, she said.

“However, foreign nationals seeking to enter Taiwan for special reasons may apply for an entry visa if they have not visited or resided in areas with severe outbreaks of 2019-nCoV,” Yeh said, adding that they must provide certain documents to apply for such a visa.

The required documents are a complete travel history for the previous 14 days, which may not include areas severely affected by 2019-nCoV, and a health checkup certificate issued in the previous four days proving that the applicant does not have a fever of 38°C or higher, and is not suffering from respiratory tract or lung infections.

Also required is a signed affidavit saying that the applicant would immediately notify Taiwanese health authorities if they experience suspected symptoms, as well as other documents required for an entry visa to Taiwan based on the purpose of the visit, she said.

Special reasons for applying for an entry visa include emergency aid, humanitarian causes or an emergency meeting, Yeh said, adding that foreign nationals who board transit flights in China and do not enter the country are not included in the restriction.

“Foreign nationals who hold a valid Alien Resident Certificate and have visited or resided in China in the previous 14 days are to be quarantined at home for 14 days and have their health carefully monitored,” Yeh said, adding that the measures might be adjusted or updated as the situation develops.

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), the head of the center, said that the 2019-nCoV outbreak in China remains serious and a lockdown was imposed on Zhejiang’s Wenzhou on Sunday, followed by another lockdown of Zhejiang’s Hangzhou yesterday.

A total of 829 2019-nCoV infections were confirmed in Zhejiang as of Monday, he said, adding that numbers have been growing in the past few days, and the province has the most cases in China after Hubei Province.

“The center decided today to designate China’s Zhejiang a secondary epidemic area,” Chen said, adding that the decision was due to the travel restrictions imposed on the province’s cities, implying local community outbreaks.

From today, people who have traveled to Zhejiang in the previous 14 days would be put under home quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Taiwan, and residents of Zhejiang would not be allowed to enter Taiwan, he said.

If people returning from Zhejiang are found to have a fever or acute respiratory symptoms upon arrival, they would be tested for 2019-nCoV at a hospital before being allowed to return home for quarantine, Chen said, adding that if the test result is positive, they would be hospitalized in an isolated ward.

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