Taiwan to drop quarantine for arrivals by mid-October

East Asian economy is one of the few remaining places still requiring visitors to quarantine.

A passerby walks past a billboard welcoming tourists at Taipei's airport.
A passer-by walks past a billboard welcoming tourists at Taipei's airport, July 1, 2008 [AFP photo/Sam Yeh]

Taiwan has announced it will scrap quarantine for arrivals by mid-October as the East Asian economy moves to dismantle some of the last pandemic-related border restrictions still in place globally.

Taiwan’s cabinet said on Thursday it would aim to end its requirement that arrivals quarantine at a hotel or at home for three days, followed by four days of self-monitoring, from around October 13.

Cabinet spokesperson Lo Ping-cheng told local media that visa-free entry for all countries that had the status before the pandemic would also resume from next Thursday. Lo said the government would also raise the weekly limit for international visitors to 60,000 and scrap PCR COVID tests for inbound passengers.

Taiwan last week resumed visa-free entry for visitors from several countries including the United States and Canada.

Under the eased rules, visitors who test positive for COVID-19 will still have to quarantine at a hotel or at home.

The self-ruled island is the only large economy apart from China and Hong Kong to still require travellers to quarantine, after Asian peers such as South Korea and Malaysia ditched quarantine rules earlier this year.

While credited with saving lives earlier in the pandemic, the border restrictions have inflicted a heavy toll on businesses, particularly those reliant on tourism.

After adhering to a “zero COVID” strategy for more than two years, Taiwan has recorded more than 6 million cases since the highly infectious Omicron variant and its subvariants began spreading locally in January.

More than 99.5 percent of infections, however, have been mild or asymptomatic, according to Taiwan’s health authorities.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies