The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced four additional conditions under which travelers to Taiwan can be exempted from providing a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result before boarding a plane, and explained how fines would be imposed on those who fail to provide test results.
The center’s autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program that went into effect on Tuesday requires all travelers to Taiwan to provide a PCR test issued within three days prior to boarding a flight.
Exemptions are granted to three special categories, which are limited to Republic of China (ROC) citizens; alien resident certificate holders; and people from China, Hong Kong and Macau with residency permits.
The three categories are: family emergencies and medical emergencies; traveling from a country where a self-paid PCR test is unavailable; and special cases approved by the CECC.
People who have other difficulties obtaining a PCR test result can sign an affidavit to return, be assigned special seats on their flight and pay for a mandatory test upon arrival, but their reason for not having a test result on hand would be reviewed and they could be fined if the reason is found to be not good enough.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the CECC has added a fourth category with four conditions.
The fourth category is “other conditions announced by the CECC,” including people who travel abroad and return within three days; children younger than seven; people who have an overdue PCR test result (issued more than three days prior to the boarding date) due to a flight cancelation; and companions of people with family emergencies and medical emergencies.
People who meet the additional conditions can sign an affidavit for boarding and pay for a mandatory test upon arrival in Taiwan, Chen said, adding that people without a PCR test result should inform the airline to gain approval in advance, present a signed affidavit at check-in and be assigned special seating on the plane.
The minister also gave examples on several types of offenses and their corresponding penalties.
Passengers who report not having a PCR result, or commit an error in filling the Communicable Disease Survey Form, but are unwilling to correct it may be fined NT$10,000 (US$348), while people who provide false or unclear proof of their special conditions, or said online they have a PCR test result, but were found to have none could be fined NT$30,000, he said.
People who refuse, avoid or obstruct the examination of the Communicable Disease Survey Form or the PCR report, or refuse to receive a mandatory self-paid test at the airport may be fined NT$50,000, Chen said.
People who fabricate or forge a PCR report, or those who verbally or physically threaten airport personnel by refusing, avoiding or obstructing the examination of required documents could be fined NT$150,000, he said, adding that the offender would face criminal charges.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), who is the CECC deputy head, said that a total of 1,141 passengers arrived on 26 international flights on Tuesday, and only two did not provide a PCR test.
One is a traveler who failed to return to Italy due to a local lockdown, so the person had to fly back to Taiwan without a PCR test and paid for a test at the airport.
The other case is a traveler who presented a test result at the airline check-in in Shanghai, but appeared to have the lost the document during transit, he said.
As the airline confirmed having seen the document, the person was only required to pay for another test at the airport, he said.
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