The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday issued a clarification regarding quarantine policies in Thailand, saying that Taiwanese visiting the nation would not be placed under quarantine if they do not have pneumonia-like symptoms.
Thai Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul on Tuesday wrote on Facebook that travelers passing through “countries or affected areas” such as Taiwan, Japan, Germany, South Korea, China, France, Singapore, Italy, Iran, Hong Kong and Macau would have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, with no exceptions.
The post was later removed without explanation.
The Thai Ministry of Public Health late last month announced that its officials would be empowered to order people suspected of being infected with COVID-19 to undergo quarantine and treatment.
That announcement has also been withdrawn, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand said yesterday.
Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon on Tuesday night told reporters that there were no laws in place to enforce a quarantine.
Under Thai law, such regulations must be announced in the Royal Thai Government Gazette before they go into effect and there are have been no such announcements, Prawit said.
Department of East Asia and Pacific Affairs Deputy Director Su Ying-chun (蘇瑩君) yesterday said that the Thai ministry’s announcement was aimed at returning Thai citizens and foreigners arriving from affected areas, suggesting that these people should place themselves under self-observed quarantine if they had come into contact with COVID-19 patients or exhibited symptoms of the disease.
People traveling to Thailand from affected areas should wear masks and refrain from participating in large events, Su said.
In related news, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs decried “Chinese pressure” for a U-turn in the border policy of Malaysia’s Sarawak state, which yesterday again banned the entry of people arriving from Taiwan, despite having lifted the restriction on Tuesday.
The Sarawak state government yesterday issued an announcement prohibiting the entry of visitors who had traveled to China (including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau), South Korea, Italy and Iran.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia said that the about-face was the result of “strong Chinese intervention.”
Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said that the ministry sternly reiterated to Sarawak that “Taiwan is not a part of the People’s Republic of China. Taiwan is not governed by the Chinese government.”
The change to the travel restrictions was originally made after a group of Taiwanese educators were denied entry to Sarawak on Friday last week.
The state government on Feb. 1 announced that foreign nationals who had visited China in the 14 days prior to their arrival would be refused entry.
Although Taiwan was not directly mentioned in that order, about 60 Taiwanese who arrived at Sarawak’s Miri Airport were denied entry and sent back to Kuala Lumpur, their preceding point of origin.
The group was able to enter Kuala Lumpur, but not Miri, because while the Malaysian federal government has not banned travelers from Taiwan, the Sarawak state government has its own regulations.
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