Summer would be the best time to allow foreign students to enter the country, Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said yesterday amid calls from universities and other groups for the government to open borders as COVID-19 fears ease in Taiwan.
Since many of the students would need to be quarantined, they would be divided into groups and categories, with those scheduled to graduate soon and those from nations where the risk of COVID-19 is low given priority, he said.
However, when the entry of foreign students would be allowed is up to the Central Epidemic Command Center, he said.
About 8,000 students who were to graduate this year, and 42,000 students who were scheduled to begin studying in Taiwan this year, are still abroad, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) said on Sunday last week, citing Ministry of Education (MOE) data.
There are about 23,000 rooms in school dormitories or hotels that could be used for disease prevention, she said, adding that the ministry planned to establish a counter at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, and arrange for transportation, supplies and meals for returning foreign students.
In other developments, people are eager to travel as COVID-19 fears ease, but with overseas travel restrictions still in place, domestic tourism has been the big winner, with hotels, travel agencies and amusement parks reporting high demand.
Industry sources said the upcoming long weekend for the Dragon Boat Festival would see several hotel operators in popular destinations rearch an average occupancy rate of 80 to 90 percent.
That would be the highest occupancy rate the hotels have seen since the COVID-19 outbreak began in early January, the sources said.
The average occupancy rate for hotels in resort areas in March was 36.15 percent, Tourism Bureau statistics showed.
Lion Travel Service Co (雄獅旅行社) said bookings for the June 25 to 28 weekend are 50 percent higher than last year, although the comparison might be skewed because last year’s festival weekend was only three days.
The largest increase in bookings are for Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu islands, Hualien and Taitung counties, and Kenting, Lion said.
Amusement park visitor numbers have been increasing since late last month, and operators said they are hoping for even bigger turnouts when government subsidies for park visits are issued next month.
A spokesperson for Farglory Ocean Park in Hualien County said that more than 6,000 people per day have visited the park on Saturdays and Sundays since the end of last month, up about 50 percent from a year earlier.
Taiwan has not had any domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases since April 12, leading the government to ease some of its disease-prevention restrictions.
EXTRADITION DEAL? A former prosecutor said that the US Department of Justice might ask Taiwan to extradite the men in return for the US doing something in return The US won arrest warrants for three Taiwanese men — a former president of China-based Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co (福建晉華) and two engineers — charged with stealing secrets from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc. The effort to apprehend the three men — former Fujian Jinhua president Stephen Chen (陳正坤), and Ho Chien-ting (何建廷) and Wang Yong-ming (王永銘), who work for Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) — is notable because they were charged in 2018 in the first case filed under the “China initiative” of US President Donald Trump’s administration targeting trade-secret theft, hacking and economic espionage. However, legal experts have said
There was a net reduction last year in the number of Taipei residents and this year is expected to set a 23-year high for population decline in the city, Ministry of the Interior statistics released yesterday showed. From January to last month, 18,861 more people moved out of Taipei than moved into the capital, an increase of 7,000 from the same period last year, the data showed. That is a 7.2 percent decrease in the city’s population since the start of the year, the biggest drop in both percentage and total number among all municipalities and counties nationwide, the data showed. The data
COUNCILS CLASH: The Mainland Affairs Council said a new office in Hong Kong is to assist people with issues related to investment, study and employment in Taiwan The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday denied an accusation by the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council that its Taiwanese counterpart in the territory was “interfering with Hong Kong’s internal affairs.” The Hong Kong council leveled the accusation after Taipei’s Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council this month announced it would establish a Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office to facilitate humanitarian aid for Hong Kongers. The new office is scheduled to begin operations on Wednesday. The MAC yesterday asked the Hong Kong council to “not misinterpret” the government’s intentions. The two Taiwan-Hong Kong councils were established in 2010 to
IRRESPONSIBLE ATTITUDES? Some experts say the NHI system does not do enough to educate the public, or pay doctors to talk to patients, about healthy lifestyles While the life expectancy of Taiwanese newborns in 2018 reached 80.69 years, the number of years people spent in poor health hit a record high at 8.41 years, Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics showed on Saturday. Healthy life expectancy is calculated by a person’s life expectancy minus the time they spend in ill health, such as the loss of mobility, disabilities and chronic disease, based on medical records and calculations about the years they live with disabilities. The number of years that Taiwanese spend in poor health is increasing slowly, but steadily, rising by 0.46 years, or five-and-a-half months, between 2012