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.
SECRET OUT: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung yesterday accidentally revealed that the infections occurred at the ministry’s Taoyuan General Hospital The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported the fifth COVID-19 case in a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital, where four other medical workers were confirmed to have been infected over the past week. The latest case is a nurse who had tested negative on Tuesday last week, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, told a news conference. However, on Thursday, she developed symptoms, such as nasal congestion and a cough, and a second test yesterday found that she was infected, Chen said. She is the head nurse of a ward where two
VIGILANCE: While two of the cases are family members of a nurse, there is no sign of community spread and the source of infection is identifiable, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new domestic COVID-19 cases associated with a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital. Since the first case was identified on Tuesday last week, five healthcare workers — two doctors and three nurses — at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital have tested positive for the virus. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that two of the four new cases are the husband and daughter of a nurse (case No. 863) who had earlier been confirmed to have COVID-19. The husband (case No. 864)
Don Quijote, the biggest discount store in Japan, is opening its first store in Taiwan today. The three-story Don Don Donki store in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area, which operates 24 hours a day, has already created 400 jobs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a press release. Many Taiwanese, including Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), consider a trip to Don Quijote an essential stop in Japan. “I have been to Don Quijote at least 10 times myself,” Huang said yesterday at a news conference announcing the store’s opening. “They are rendering an important service, because we cannot travel
INCURSION: After 13 PLA aircraft flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ, the US Department of State said that China should rather ‘engage in meaningful dialogue’ with Taiwan US President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday urged China to stop placing military pressure on Taiwan, while calling on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to engage in peaceful dialogue. The statement by the US Department of State was issued after 13 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. The air force scrambled fighter jets to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until the planes left the ADIZ. The US “notes