CECC Receives Guidelines from Taiwan Tourism Bureau on Open Borders | Taiwan News

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – After President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday (August 19) asked for a timetable for opening Taiwan to tourists, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) refused to commit to details due to fears of a new wave of COVID cases.


During a speech marking the start of the 2022 Taiwan Tourism Expo, Tsai announced that she had asked the Cabinet for a timetable for Taiwan’s opening to international tourism and said that the “light of dawn ” for the tourism industry was coming soon. See you later press conferenceCECC director Victor Wang (王必勝) found himself bombarded with questions about the implementation date of the new tourism plan.


The first question was whether the CECC had received any advice from the Tourist Board on lifting border restrictions for tourism. Wang confirmed that the CECC received directives from the office on Thursday, August 18.


Wang said the center is reviewing the guidelines and if it has any differing views, it will discuss them with the Tourism Bureau. He then thanked the office for the information, described as preparations for the opening of borders, and said that further discussions would take place on this subject.


Another reporter then asked if Wang could provide more details on the Tourism Bureau’s plan and when the borders would open. Wang said the schedule has not been finalized yet, but once it is, the Tourism Bureau will attend the CECC press conference to explain the details.


Wang said no specific timetable has been set for the lifting of border restrictions, as the center must first see how the pandemic is progressing before making a final decision.


Another reporter asked if there were any targets that needed to be met before the borders could be reopened. Wang said the center received instructions from Tsai and the Cabinet, but he said epidemic prevention should be prioritized first over economy and tourism.


He said the easing of restrictions will depend on the pandemic and the risk assessment. It will be implemented in stages with the aim of “allowing citizens to fully return to normal life, including tourism”.


Wang was also asked if he could provide the public with an approximate timeline of when border controls will be relaxed, such as month or time of year. Wang insisted that the opening of the borders would not be based on a timetable, but rather on a plan that would be implemented gradually.


He said the “3+4” and “one person per room” quarantine rules would be addressed first. Another question will be whether the capacity of epidemic prevention hotels can be increased.


Wang said consideration would then be given to whether tour groups could leave and enter the country. An evaluation of the “0+7” plan will also be made, Wang said.


The CECC chief said a major factor is the anticipated new wave of cases of Omicron’s BA.5 sub-variant. He said the key would be to observe its severity and see how long it lasts.


He said if the BA.5 wave ends quickly, border controls could be relaxed more quickly.


Another reporter quoted the Civil Aeronautics Administration as saying that it will soon be able to increase the weekly passenger quota from 40,000 to 80,000. Wang said that in addition to the airport’s capacity, the epidemic prevention capacity of hotels should also be taken into account.


He said that given the continuation of the “3+4” quarantine, on-arrival testing and transportation restrictions, there is a limit to the number of passengers that can be handled per day. He said there is room for an increase in passenger numbers, but that will depend on the situation.


Wang also said the BA.5 outbreak is expected to peak in late September or early October. If the scale is not so large, then the center may consider opening the borders earlier, Wang said.


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