Over a quarter of travellers from China test positive in Taiwan

Thailand may want to rethink its pandemic prevention strategy for Chinese tourists after news broke this week that more than a quarter of passengers from China landing in Taiwan tested positive for Covid-19.

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) in Taiwan reported that over a quarter of the 500 plus travellers who arrived in Taiwan from China returned positive Covid test results, reported focustaiwan.

Last week the CECC announced last week that travellers from China needed to take a PCR test when arriving in Taiwan from January 1 as Taipei tried to fight the current wave of Covid infections.

The guideline was directed at individuals travelling on flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Xiamen, which all have direct flights to Taiwan and residents who are arriving in Kinmen and Matsu islands from Xiamen.

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The CECC reported that on the first day of the new testing policy, some 146 out of 524 arrivals from China at Taoyuan International Airport tested positive for Covid.

Chuang Jen-hsiang, a spokesperson for the CECC, stated that it is difficult to predict whether the positivity rate for Covid will increase, decrease, or remain stable in the coming weeks. However, he expressed hope that the new policy will discourage individuals travelling from China from boarding a flight if they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

According to the new policy, travellers who test positive for Covid will be required to isolate for five days if they have mild or no symptoms. If they have more severe symptoms, they will need to call the 1922 hotline to arrange for transportation to a hospital.

Chuang added that the CECC plans to conduct genome sequencing on samples taken from around 20 travellers who arrive from China and test positive each day, to better understand the Covid variants circulating in each of the four cities of travel.

The new testing policy primarily affects Taiwanese citizens returning to Taiwan and Chinese nationals travelling to Taiwan for business, study, or to visit their families. Chinese tourists are still not allowed to enter Taiwan at this time but the policy is currently scheduled to expire on January 31.

Several countries have rushed to impose restrictions on travellers arriving in their respective countries from China after Beijing announced it will open its borders to international travellers and relax restrictions on Sunday, January 8. Morocco has banned all travellers from the Chinese mainland until further notice while others are requiring Covid tests 48 hours before travel and testing on arrival.

Thailand has not imposed any restrictions.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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