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Taiwan eyes mid-October end to COVID quarantine on road to re-opening

People wait for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test in Taipei, Taiwan, May 24, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Files

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TAIPEI, Sept. 22 (Reuters) – Taiwan aims to end mandatory COVID-19 quarantine for arrivals from about Oct. 13 and will ease other restrictions starting next week as it reopens to the outside world, the government said on Thursday.

Taiwan has maintained some of its entry and quarantine rules as much of the rest of Asia has relaxed or lifted them completely, though in June it cut the number of days it took to arrive in isolation to three from seven previously.

Taiwan has reported six million domestic cases since the beginning of the year, caused by the more contagious Omicron variant. With more than 99% of those showing no or only mild symptoms, the government has relaxed rather than tightened restrictions in its “new Taiwan model”.

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Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng told reporters that visa-free entry will resume from next Thursday for citizens of all countries that previously held that status. The government will also increase weekly arrival limits for international travelers by 10,000 to 60,000, he said, without more PCR testing for arrivals.

If “everything is under control,” the government aims to end the mandatory quarantine for all arrivals from about Oct. 13, with the number of arrivals rising to 150,000 a week, Lo said.

“This is the last mile in our fight against the pandemic,” he said, speaking after a weekly cabinet meeting, adding that the government is making all the preparations necessary to reopen its door to international tourists and to shut down domestic businesses affected by the pandemic. previous COVID-related curbs.

However, those who test positive should still be quarantined at home or in designated hotels, the government said.

Although vaccination coverage in Taiwan is high, the daily number of cases has risen again, with more than 46,000 reported on Wednesday.

During the pandemic, Taiwanese citizens and foreign residents have not been banned from leaving and then re-entering, but have been quarantined at home or in hotels for up to two weeks.

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Before the pandemic, Taiwan was a popular tourist destination for mainly Asian visitors, with Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia being the main markets.

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Reporting by Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Kenneth Maxwell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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