CECC removes pre-flight PCR requirements for Taiwan residents
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has confirmed that pre-entry PCR test requirements for certain groups of people will soon be removed. Starting from 14 July, arrivals who hold passports of the Republic of China (ROC) or Alien Resident Certificates (ARCs) and those who arrive in Taiwan for transit will be exempted from having to present PCR test results within two days before their scheduled flights to Taiwan. The CECC has also lifted the current weekly cap of 25,000 visitor arrivals to 40,000 with immediate effect.
The Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung says the relaxation of border controls comes amid an increase in overseas Taiwanese nationals returning to the country for the summer vacation and business travellers. It comes as a welcome move in response to consistent advocacy by business organisations, including the ECCT, to relax and eventually phase out all of Taiwan’s existing Covid-19 border controls and quarantine requirements.
The ECCT's 2022 Position Papers, released in November 2022, noted that border restrictions and quarantine requirements have blocked the flow of talent, which has impeded the development of a number of industry sectors, such as wind energy. The Overview of the paper noted that "As more Asia Pacific countries are reopening their borders, Taiwan risks being left behind in the fierce regional competition for trade and talent. Moreover, travel restrictions have devastated players in the domestic travel and tourism industry, causing significant job losses, while strict quarantine requirements have discouraged most residents of Taiwan from travelling abroad. This is harming both the travel and tourism industry and international business development. Border control measures cannot remain in place indefinitely and should be adjusted commensurate with the threat level." Since then, as more countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas have loosened their border controls, the ECCT has consistently conveyed the same message to government ministries in ongoing meetings as well as in speeches made by the ECCT Chairman H Henry Chang at the ECCT's Grand Dinner in January and the Europe Day Dinner in May this year. The chamber will continue to advocate the lifting of the remaining border controls and quarantine requirements in its future meetings with the government.