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Starting Feb. 7, Taiwan will ease entry and quarantine requirements and lift the requirement for saliva PCR testing for arrivals from China at airports and ports. Arrivals will still need to undergo a 7-day period of self-initiated prevention, and they will only need to take rapid tests if they show symptoms.(C/2-1)

On January 31, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that, effective February 7, 2023 (scheduled arrival time), the saliva-based COVID-19 PCR testing requirement at airports/ports for travelers arriving on direct flights from China and those arriving through the special travel arrangement for Kinmen and Matsu residents will be lifted. The CECC will also end a rule on February 7 that requires travelers arriving from China who transfer through Hong Kong or Macao to present a PCR test result from within 48 hours prior to boarding their flight at the place of departure or a rapid test result from within 24 hours of boarding.

The CECC stated that in order to protect the health of Taiwan nationals and detect high-risk COVID strains from China, measures for collecting samples from travelers from China have been strengthened. From January 1 to 29 this year, over 46,000 people have been tested and more than 4,000 imported confirmed cases have been screened. However, the positive rate of travelers from China has been assessed to have dropped from 25% per day to about 2%. The positive rate continues to remaining at a low level. The available samples for genome sequencing has also decreased with monitoring results mainly showing BA.5 and BF.7 strains, and no detection of new variant strains. In addition, considering the current policy of not allowing Chinese tourists to come to Taiwan, border quarantine operations will return to normal monitoring and control.

The CECC further explains that with the recent improvement in the international pandemic situation, there has been no discovery of new, threatening strains, and the proportion of daily cases among overseas arrivals to daily confirmed cases has been low (about 0.4 - 2.2%) in the past month. For travelers who show symptoms, they can actively contact the CDC for testing. Furthermore, there is a widespread availability of home antigen rapid test kits in the country, so effective on February 7, inbound travelers would be able to collect only one free at-home rapid test, instead of four. Inbound travelers will only need to take a rapid test if they develop symptoms during their seven-day period of self-initiated prevention. Those who need additional rapid tests can purchase them at pharmacies or convenience stores/retailers selling rapid tests.

The CECC emphasized that all inbound travelers are still required to undergo a 7-day self-initiated prevention. The public should comply with relevant regulations. Please only take a rapid test when symptoms appear to maintain personal health and community safety.