An entry ban on migrant workers is to be temporarily lifted this month, but reimposed for two months from Dec. 14, the Ministry of Labor said.
The reintroduction of the ban is intended to free quarantine hotel space to accommodate large numbers of overseas Taiwanese who are expected to begin returning for next year’s Lunar New Year holidays later in December.
“At the latest, migrant workers will be granted entry to Taiwan in mid or late November,” Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) said at a legislative hearing.
Photo: Liu Ming-de, Taipei Times
However, as Taiwan is likely to see an influx of nationals returning home for the Lunar New Year, the entry of migrant workers is to be suspended again from Dec. 14 to Feb. 14, she said.
Taiwan first banned entry of migrant workers from Indonesia in December last year due to the COVID-19 situation in that country.
On May 19, Taiwan banned entry of all foreign nationals without residency, including migrant workers, following an unprecedented spike in domestic COVID-19 cases in Taiwan.
Hsu said that the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday approved the plan to allow entry of migrant workers, but the ministry first needs to communicate with the workers’ home countries to ensure cooperation with Taiwan’s disease prevention measures.
Details that need to be discussed include verifying which medical institutions issue valid COVID-19 test results, and reducing the number of workers who receive pre-departure training together at training centers, Hsu said.
The labor ministry plans to meet with Indonesian authorities next week to discuss that country being the first from which migrant workers can enter Taiwan under the plan, Workforce Development Agency Director-General Tsai Meng-liang (蔡孟良) said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan reported two new COVID-19 cases yesterday — one local and one imported — and no deaths from the disease.
The local case is a Taipei resident in his 30s, the CECC said.
His COVID-19 tests showed a relatively high cycle threshold value of 34, which indicates a low viral load and the possibility that he has been infected for a while.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said that the man likely contracted the virus during a domestic outbreak of COVID-19 that began in May.
He had received one dose of an AstraZeneca vaccine in August, Lo added.
In other developments, Taiwan yesterday took delivery of 142,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine purchased from the vaccine maker, the 12th delivery of a 10 million dose order that was signed on Oct. 30, last year.
To date, 6.53 million doses of that order have been delivered, the CECC said.
As of Thursday, Taiwan had obtained approximately 12.56 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the manufacturer, the global vaccine sharing initiative COVAX and donations from other nations, CECC data showed.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said that 74 percent of Taiwan’s population has received one dose of a vaccine, while 35 percent are fully vaccinated with two doses, expressing the hopes that the two-dose coverage will reach 60 percent by mid-December.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang
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