Taiwan has today reopened for international visitors without quarantine after being closed or requiring varying times of isolation (home or hotel) since March 2020.
There are no pre-departure or on-arrival PCR-RT tests, but visitors are given a pack for rapid antigen tests (RATs) that they should use during their stay in Taiwan. There are a few limitations on what you are allowed or supposed not to do during the “self-initiated epidemic prevention” period.
Visitors can stay in a hotel or home but should not mix and match with other people not traveling with them.
The RATs should be used on the arrival or the following day and every other day for up to seven days.
Masking is still required but can be lifted when eating or drinking.
Information from Taiwan Centers for Disease Control:
On September 29, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that, effective 00:00 on October 13 (incoming flight’s scheduled arrival time), arriving travelers will no longer be required to quarantine and will instead undergo a seven-day period of self-initiated prevention after arrival. Related border restrictions will also be lifted starting October 13.
Details are listed below.
I. Weekly cap on arriving travelers: in principle, the weekly cap will be 150,000 on a trial basis.
II. Quarantine duration: the day of arrival counts as Day 0. A seven-day period of self-initiated prevention will be required.
A. Mandatory quarantine will be discontinued.
B. Arriving travelers will no longer be required to make a health declaration on the Quarantine System for Entry before arrival and to have a mobile phone with a Taiwanese number.
C. The COVID-19 Health Declaration and Home Quarantine Notice will no longer be issued to arriving travelers.
D. Electronic fencing and monitoring measures will be suspended, and home quarantine designation will no longer be marked in the National Health Insurance system. Home quarantine services from local governments will also be suspended.
E. Epidemic prevention rules to follow during the self-initiatedprevention period:
1. In principle, arriving travelers should stay at home or a residence of a friend or family member or a hotel room that meets the requirement of “one person per room” (with a private bathroom) in the self-initiated prevention period.
2. During the self-initiated prevention period, arriving travelers should avoid coming into contact with persons who have a high risk of developing severe COVID-19 (including elderly people 65 and older, children 6 and younger, and individuals who are immunocompromised or have a weak immune system).
3. Arriving travelers should rest at home if they experience symptoms. If they don’t experience symptoms, a negative result from an at-home rapid test taken within two days is required before they go out, go to work, or attend school. They should wear a mask at all times when outside.
4. Arriving travelers can dine alone or with specific persons in a restaurant if they need to eat when outside. They should immediately put on a mask when they leave their seat or finish eating. They can temporarily remove their mask when dining and should put on their mask after finishing their meal.
5. Arriving travelers cannot visit or stay with a hospitalized individual in a hospital. Non-urgent medical services or examinations should be postponed. Arriving travelers should avoid going to long-term care facilities.
6. Those with COVID-19 who have mild symptoms can receive home care at an enhanced quarantine hotel/government quarantine facility or the place where they undergo self-initiated prevention (general hotel not included).
III. Testing measures are listed below.
A. Four rapid test kits will be given to arriving travelers aged 2 and older by workers at international airports/ports upon arrival.
B. When to use rapid tests:
1. On the day of arrival or the first day of the self-initiated prevention period (D0/D1).
2. Arriving travelers should take a rapid test and produce a negative result within two days before going out during the self-initiated prevention period.
3. Symptoms develop during this period.
4. The test results will not be recorded. Arriving travelers should follow the Self-initiated Prevention Guidelines if they test positive with a rapid test.
5. In consideration of the age limit on who can use at-home rapid test kits, children under two years of age will not be required to take rapid tests during the self-initiated prevention period.
A. Travelers who have experienced any suspected COVID-19 symptoms in the 14 days before arrival should voluntarily report their symptoms to a Taiwan CDC quarantine officer at the airport/port. Such travelers should cooperate in undergoing a saliva test at the airport/port and follow instructions to take a quarantine vehicle according to assessments of quarantine officers.
B. Travelers without COVID-19 symptoms can take public transportation.
C. Visa-exempt entry scheme will be fully restored. Travelers from countries not granted visa-exemption treatment will be allowed to apply for visas to enter Taiwan for regular social visits and tourism. The ban on tour groups will also be lifted.
The CECC reiterated that arriving travelers should adhere to epidemic prevention measures as border restrictions are being lifted. Arriving travelers should follow self-initiated prevention rules which provide what to do if they test positive with a rapid test. Arriving travelers should seek medical attention as soon as possible and have their positive rapid test results evaluated through telemedicine/video consultations or by asking a friend or family member to go to a clinic or the medical institution in charge of home care (public health center included) on their behalf or following the instructions of their local health departments to visit a clinic or such a medical institution.
After their positive results are confirmed, they can seek medical help by driving themselves, riding a scooter or bike, walking, or getting a ride from a friend or family member (with both parties keeping their masks on at all times) or can follow instructions of their local health department to seek medical attention. Travelers should put on a medical mask and are prohibited from using public transportation when seeking medical attention to reduce the risk of disease transmission and to maintain the safety of the community.
Taiwan intends to attract 700,000 tourists this year (unlikely) and to return pre-pandemic level of 10 million by 2024.
One bottleneck, at least this year is air connectivity (Taiwan is an island, after all) which is currently running at 30% to 40% from pre-pandemic activity.
The covid-related restrictions appear to be relatively reasonable, although there is still a lot of mask-wearing, and you need to do a few RATs.
Although I am in Asia right now, I am not planning to return to Taiwan until January.