At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a Ministry of Health and Welfare briefing on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and preparations for the opening of Taiwan's borders. Thursday marked the official launch of the first-phase reopening measures, the premier said. Based on COVID monitoring over the previous several days, trends in domestic cases have proceeded as expected and the government has determined that public health capabilities are ready to handle the expanded second-phase reopening measures which will be implemented beginning October 13.
Starting Thursday, the weekly cap on arrivals has increased to 60,000 people, the "3+4" quarantine scheme (three days of isolation followed by four days of self-initiated epidemic prevention) has been loosened to apply the "one person per room" rule to the entire seven-day period, on-arrival saliva PCR testing at the airport has been canceled, and visa-exempt status has been restored to countries previously afforded that privilege. The premier said the number of new domestic cases in the past week fell about 3% compared with the previous week, the number of severe cases did not increase and the mortality rate decreased. Taiwan will thus continue to progress toward steady reopening. The second phase of measures that will take effect beginning October 13 include a "0+7" quarantine scheme (seven days of self-initiated epidemic prevention), increasing the weekly cap on arrivals to 150,000 people, allowing travelers from countries without visa-exempt status, and canceling the ban on tour groups.
After facing a global pandemic for two years and nine months, the global community can now finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are on the verge of returning to our normal lifestyles, something eagerly awaited by people in all walks of life throughout Taiwan. The premier lauded the nation's disease-prevention team for their performance over the past nearly 1,000 days, along with the people of Taiwan who came together to fight the pandemic with top-to-bottom cooperation, making this day possible.
Premier Su also said that in August, monthly revenue in the food and beverage industry was the second-highest in history, wholesale and retail revenue both hit new same-month highs, the industrial production index continued its consecutive 31-month rise to reach a historic high, export order value also hit a new same-month high, and the unemployment rate of 3.79% was the lowest for the same period in 22 years—all strong indicators that the economy is heating up. Two weeks from now, Taiwan will also fully open its doors to welcome international tourists. The premier directed the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to mount promotions to attract global tourists to travel, shop and enjoy new experiences in safe and beautiful Taiwan.
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Phase one of border opening begins; phase two scheduled for Oct. 13