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Starting March 1, arrivals and close contacts of confirmed cases no longer receive free COVID-19 at-home rapid tests (C/2-3)

On February 20, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that, effective March 1, at-home rapid test kits will no longer be provided free of charge to arriving travelers and close contacts of confirmed cases. Members of the public can purchase rapid tests through retail channels/pharmacies, convenience stores or other places selling rapid tests. 

The CECC explained that inbound travelers are allowed to pick up one rapid test kit upon arrival, and those that come in close contact of confirmed cases are being provided with one kit by the local health departments. Considering the recent slowdown in global and local pandemic trends, the timing for voluntary screening and testing has been adjusted to when the voluntary subjects (including inbound travelers and close contacts of confirmed cases) develop symptoms and use rapid test kits for screening at their voluntary quarantine locations. For those who show symptoms upon arrival, they may contact quarantine personnel at the airport or port to conduct necessary testing, while asymptomatic individuals will return to their voluntary quarantine locations for a period of seven days. Additionally, with the widespread availability of home-use rapid test kits in the domestic stores and their ease of purchase for the public, based on a comprehensive evaluation of the above factors, starting on March 1, the provision of free home-use antigen rapid test kits to inbound travelers and close contacts of confirmed cases will be discontinued. For inbound travelers, their scheduled arrival time in Taiwan will be the time of reference, while for close contacts of confirmed cases, the quarantine start date will be the time of reference.

The CECC stated that although the COVID-19 pandemic in Taiwan is slowing down, there is still a risk of virus transmission in local communities. Furthermore, Taiwan is still in the respiratory virus season. Therefore, the public should continue to comply with relevant pandemic prevention regulations, maintain personal pandemic prevention habits, implement personal protective measures such as hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and actively receive COVID-19 vaccines to enhance individual and group immunity, protecting themselves and others.