The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that after border controls are eased, it would screen all foreign visitors to Taiwan for COVID-19 upon arrival and permit them entry only if they test negative in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
Visitors would also be required to receive follow-up testing and perform self-health management, based on their activities in the nation, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center.
A mass screening of all foreign visitors at the airport would not be sufficient, as some confirmed cases did not test positive until they were already under home quarantine, he added.
Photo: Liberty Times file photograph
The center would not implement mass screening on all returning Taiwanese because the government is obligated to treat infected citizens, but it is not obliged to treat foreign visitors, and carelessly allowing infected people to enter might cause a local outbreak, he said.
In related news, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday said that it is considering allowing Taiwan’s international airlines to offer cargo services to and from six cities in China — Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Qingdao, Ningbo and Changsha — as part of an effort to aid the airline industry, which has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To contain the coronavirus outbreak, the government had limited cross-strait flights to four Chinese cities — Beijing, Xiamen, Chengdu and Shanghai, home to Hongqiao International Airport, which is closed to international flights.
Ministry officials said that many Chinese cities have ended lockdowns, which have consequently increased demand for goods, but they chose these six cities as they have higher cargo demands than others.
As the nation’s passenger flight service is expected to recover slowly and the government still needs to control the spread of the virus, ministry officials said it hoped that the CECC would allow carriers to offer cargo service to reduce their financial losses.
On the proposal of allowing airlines to increase cross-strait cargo flights, Chen last month said that he “had no reason to object if it is done with proper planning.”
Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), who is deputy head of the center, on May 24 said that the CECC would consider opening cargo flights to more Chinese cities using passenger aircraft, but no airline had yet submitted such a request.
China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 華航) said it would first apply for cargo services in Guangzhou and Shenzhen once it secures permission to do so.
EVA Airlines (EVA, 長榮航空) said it is interested in all cities with high demand for goods, adding that it has submitted requests to the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
CAL’s revenue from cargo services in April reached NT$7.395 billion (US$248 million), whereas revenue from passenger flight service was only NT$400 million.
EVA’s revenue in April also topped NT$4.202 billion, but passenger flight revenue was NT$448 million.
Dimerco Express Group (中菲行國際物流), which offers global freight-forwarding and logistics services, saw consolidated revenue in April rise by 59.46 percent to NT$348 million.
In other news, Star Cruises said it plans to offer island-hopping tours to outlying islands, including Kinmen, Penghu and Lienchiang counties, once it receives government approval.
The cruise ship, Explorer Dream, can accommodate 3,600 passengers, but it would only take 1,000 on the tour, it said.
The tour would last two to four days, the company said, adding that it would observe the Centers for Disease Control’s disease prevention guidelines.
Additional reporting by Lee I-chia
Indonesia has sent hundreds of riot police to a tiny island after protests broke out against a China-backed project that would displace thousands of residents. About 1,000 people protested in Batam City on Monday over a plan to develop Rempang island into a Chinese-funded economic zone, including the construction of a multibillion-dollar glass factory, that would displace about 7,500 people. Some protesters clashed with security forces outside a government agency, wielding machetes, Molotov cocktails and stones, police said, adding that dozens were arrested. Beijing has poured money into infrastructure and resource projects in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and its investments have previously caused
‘HARASSMENT’: A record 103 Chinese warplanes were detected in 24 hours, posing severe challenges to security in the Taiwan Strait and the region, the ministry said Taiwan yesterday told China to stop its “destructive unilateral actions” after more than 100 Chinese warplanes and nine navy ships were detected in areas around the nation. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) described the number of warplanes detected in 24 hours as a “recent high,” while Beijing has so far refrained from issuing any official comment on the sorties. “Between the morning of September 17th to 18th, the Ministry of National Defense had detected a total of 103 Chinese aircraft, which was a recent high and has posed severe challenges to the security across the Taiwan Strait and in the region,”
China would be making “a grave strategic mistake” if it tried to attack Taiwan, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley said in an interview with CNN that aired on Sunday. Asked by host Fareed Zakaria whether the US could repel a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, Milley said: “It is entirely possible.” Milley reiterated that the US still maintains the Taiwan Relations Act, and that it wants “a peaceful outcome between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, and whatever that is between those two peoples.” “Militarily, I think China would make a grave strategic mistake if they attempted to
‘CRITICAL TRADE PARTNER’: The proposal had momentum due to a bipartisan consensus on boosting the economic partnership with Taiwan, a US senator said The US Senate Committee on Finance on Thursday passed the US-Taiwan Expedited Double Tax Relief Act, with US officials saying that it would ease pressure on investors and boost the partnership between Taipei and Washington, although Taiwan needs to enact reciprocal legislation for it to take effect. The bill — which was developed by US senators Ron Wyden, the committee’s chairman, and ranking member Mike Crapo, along with US representatives Jason Smith, chairman of the US House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, and ranking member Richard Neal — was passed in a 27-0 vote. The proposal had momentum because of