Thu, Feb 06, 2020 - Page 1 News List

Chinese banned from entering Taiwan

RED ALERT:The Mainland Affairs Council issued its highest warning for China, urging people not to travel there, as the entire nation has become an epidemic area

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

People prepare to sanitize a temple in Yunlin County’s Baojhong Township yesterday ahead of a celebration scheduled for Saturday.

Photo: Chan Shih-hung, Taipei Times

From today, all Chinese nationals are banned from entering Taiwan, while people who have traveled to China, Hong Kong or Macau in the previous 14 days are to be put under mandatory home quarantine for 14 days after returning to Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced yesterday.

The only exception would be people who travel to Hong Kong or Macau after obtaining the government’s permission, who would be “asked to perform mandatory self-care management after returning to Taiwan,” said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who also heads the center.

The center designated China as a secondary epidemic area for the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, while the Mainland Affairs Council issued a “red” travel advisory — its highest level, meaning “do not visit” — for China and a “yellow” travel advisory — meaning “reconsider visiting” — for Hong Kong and Macau.

Taiwan had no new confirmed 2019-nCoV infections yesterday, Chen said, but added that two Taiwanese evacuees from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the outbreak, showed mild respiratory symptoms and were quarantined at a hospital for further examination.

“However, confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in China continue to increase rapidly and many areas in China have imposed travel bans or restrictions,” he said. “The whole of China has become an epidemic area.”

Mainland Affiars Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said that Taiwanese who travel to China despite the agency’s travel warning would be quarantined at home for 14 days when they return.

The council in a news release said that 19 of China’s 31 provinces and cities had reported more than 100 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV, including clustered infections in local communities in Beijing and Shanghai.

Confirmed cases in Hong Kong and Macau have also continued to increase in the past few days, the council said, urging people to remain cautious and reconsider traveling to the two territories.

Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said that people placed under mandatory home quarantine should practice self-discipline and observe the restrictions, adding that those whose breach quarantine would be dealt with according to the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法) and the Criminal Code.

“Local civil administrations, including borough and village wardens, are to cooperate with local health departments by finding people who lose contact with officials during quarantine,” he said. “If such people cannot be found, the police would step in to conduct a search.”

“Police will implement measures employed when solving major criminal cases when searching for such people,” Hsu said.

People with a fever who take antipyretics to reduce their body temperature or provide false information in the Novel Coronavirus Health Declaration Card upon their arrival in Taiwan would also face fines or other punishment for contravening the Social Order Maintenance Act and the Criminal Code, he said.

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