Taiwan is eyeing an earlier end to its mandatory quarantine for all arrivals and has been making relevant preparations, Premier Su Tseng-chang said on Friday (Sept 16), as the government continued to ease controls put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Taiwan has kept its entry and quarantine rules in place as large parts of the rest of Asia have relaxed or lifted them completely, though in June it cut the number of isolation days for arrivals to three from seven.
Taiwan has reported more than 5.7 million domestic cases since the beginning of the year, driven by the more infectious Omicron variant.
With more than 99 per cent of those showing only mild or no symptoms, the government has relaxed rather than tightened restrictions in its “new Taiwan model”. It has not, however, given a timeline for when quarantine rules may be scrapped.
Su said that while cases had been gradually ticking up recently, the trend was in line with expectations.
“We are also preparing for a steady opening up with all ministries and departments,” he said.
“If during the [next] two weeks it can be monitored and predictions are as we first had them, if [cases] gradually rise and then slow down, then we can open up earlier.”
Chuang Jen-hsiang, the deputy director general of the Taiwan Centres for Disease Control, said this week that it was possible the quarantine rule would be lifted entirely next month.
Taiwan this week began resuming visa-free entry for visitors from countries including US and Canada, though the need for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival remains, as does the existing cap on 50,000 arrivals a week.
Taiwan, which has a well-vaccinated population, has already ended a requirement for pre-departure negative PCR tests.
Taiwanese and foreign residents have never been prohibited from leaving and then re-entering during the pandemic, but have had to quarantine at home or in hotels.
Before the pandemic, Taiwan was a popular tourist destination for mainly Asian visitors, with Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia the most important markets.