Taiwan to resume visa-free travel but keep quarantine for now

FILE PHOTO: A passenger jet of Taiwan's China Airlines at Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan, June 8, 2020. (Reuters)

Taiwan will resume visa-free entry for travellers from countries it currently shares diplomatic ties with but will maintain a three-day quarantine requirement as the island takes halting steps toward easing its Covid-restrictions.

Arrivals from more than 60 countries -- including the US, UK and Australia -- are eligible for visa-free entry starting Sept 12, though the duration of their permitted stay varies, Taiwan’s Bureau of Consular Affairs said in a statement on its website Monday. 

While the island’s swift response to the pandemic in 2020 earned it early plaudits, it has joined regional destinations like Japan that have been reluctant to fully ease travel restrictions and welcome back mass tourism. Meanwhile, other tourist hot spots like Thailand and Singapore have scrapped almost all border and testing measures.

A weekly arrivals cap of 50,000 people and requirements for arrivals to undergo saliva tests will also remain in place in Taiwan for now. The move is being taken to boost economic and social activities, and in consideration of the fact that most countries around the world have already eased border measures, according to a separate statement from the island’s Centers for Disease Control.

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