Crews on deep-sea fishing boats that have anchored off other nations or engaged in improper interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic would be subject to a 14-day quarantine on their vessel when they return to Taiwan, effective immediately, a government official said.
Crew members of deep-sea fishing vessels and near-sea tuna fishing boats operating in waters between Taiwan and Japan, who are mostly migrant fishers, would be covered by the new regulation as part of the government’s efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Fisheries Agency Director-General Chang Chih-sheng (張致盛) said on Wednesday.
Deep-sea fishing vessels have been targeted because they spend more time operating in waters far from Taiwan, while tuna fishing boats have been included because a large number of Taiwanese ships are engaged in the trade as the peak season approaches, he said.
Vessels in the two categories that did not visit ports in other nations, did not interact with other ships, did not change their crew and were not inspected by foreign officials in the 30 days prior to their return to Taiwan are to be excluded from the measure, Chang said.
The crew members of such vessels would be allowed to enter Taiwan as long as they do not have a fever, cough or other COVID-19 symptoms when examined, he said.
As the agency traces the movements of all fishing boats operating on the high seas around the clock, it can determine whether they anchor off other nations or engage in any of the listed interactions, an agency official said.
There are 9,680 migrant workers — 7,526 from Indonesia, 1,436 from the Philippines, 690 from Vietnam and 28 from Thailand — employed on Taiwanese fishing vessels, agency data showed, a level similar to that of past years.
There are also 799 Chinese fishers working onboard Taiwanese vessels, the data showed.
New migrant workers scheduled to begin working on Taiwanese fishing vessels would undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arriving in Taiwan, as with all arriving foreign nationals, in line with Central Epidemic Commander Center regulations, Chang said.
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