Taiwan will raise the weekly cap on arriving visitors from abroad from the current 150,000 to 200,000 from Dec. 1, after COVID-19 cases in the country declined for five consecutive weeks, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Monday.
The CECC decided to expand the weekly capacity of inbound travelers in anticipation of increasing demand, driven by the gradual easing of border restrictions in Taiwan and many other countries, CECC head Victor Wang (王必勝) said at a daily press briefing.
It is also expected that there will be an increased need for travel with the approach of the Christmas and year-end holiday season and the Lunar New Year, he said.
Starting Oct. 13, Taiwan reopened its borders to all arriving visitors, raised the weekly inbound arrival quota from 60,000 to 150,000, and ended mandatory quarantine for those arrivals. Instead, inbound passengers are required to undertake seven days of self-initiated epidemic prevention.
According to data compiled by the CECC, inbound and outbound passengers increased significantly as of Sunday.
In the past week through Nov. 13, the number of inbound arrivals stood at 92,055, up 12 percent from a week earlier, while 78,801 people departed from Taiwan in the past week, up 13 percent from a week ago, the data showed.
Upon arrival, all travelers aged 2 and older are provided with four at-home rapid test kits for use during the self-initiated prevention period.
Those who experienced any suspected COVID-19 symptoms in the 14 days before arrival should voluntarily report their symptoms to quarantine officers at airports or seaports, cooperate in undergoing a saliva test and follow instructions to take a quarantine vehicle based on the assessment of quarantine officers, Wang said.
Wang also said that Taiwan plans to gradually ease the current mask mandate as outbreaks of the Omicron subvariant BA.5 might have come to an end and COVID-19 infections in the country are decreasing.
The first-phase relaxation of the mask restrictions could be announced next week at the earliest, according to Wang.
He said that Taiwan’s daily COVID-19 caseload dropped to below 20,000 recently and the weekly case number fell to 140,000, the lowest since late April, reaching two criteria for easing of mask rules.
The CECC has laid out three conditions to loosen the mask mandate: No more than 150,000 weekly cases, 20,000 daily cases and controllable situations during the epidemic disease season, according to Wang.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel