Tour groups to arrive today as border reopens – 台北時報

Nearly 250 foreign tourists from six Asian countries are to arrive in Taiwan today after the government from today relaxes COVID-19 border controls, lifting the quarantine mandate, but ordering seven days of self-initiated disease prevention, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday.
Twenty package tour groups organized in Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as five from Thailand, are to arrive, with 244 people between them, the bureau said.
The first group is scheduled to arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport from Thailand at 12:10am, the bureau said, adding that they are on a four-day tour.
Photo: Lin Hsin-han, Taipei Times
Welcome Holiday (惠康旅行社), the Taiwanese travel agency that arranged the tour for the first group, said all 29 spots available on the tour were sold in three hours.
Meanwhile, the first outbound tour group after the border rules change is to depart for Malaysia at 8:10am for a four-day tour of Penang State, said Lion Travel (雄獅旅行社), the travel agency organizing the tour.
There are 230 more foreign tour groups scheduled to arrive from Friday to the end of this month, which combined would bring 3,630 international tourists, the bureau said.
Photo: Lin Hsin-han, Taipei Times
Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰) would welcome the first inbound group at the airport’s Terminal 1, with each member of the group to receive a souvenir, the bureau said.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), and Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), are to inspect operations at the nation’s largest international airport, it said.
The airport is to be accessed today by 12,322 inbound passengers, 6,238 outbound passengers and 5,586 transit passengers, Taoyuan International Airport Corp said, citing reports from airlines.
From 12am, all restrictions to access the airport’s dining areas, duty-free shops, showering facilities, outdoor smoking areas and observation decks would be lifted, the company said.
Inbound passengers who show no symptoms of COVID-19 can access public transport, the company said, adding that those taking airport taxis would be charged according to the meter.
Civil Aeronautics Administration Director-General Lin Kuo-hsien (林國顯) said that about 10,000 air travelers are to access the international airports in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung, including about 800 people arriving or departing on eight international flights.
From today, domestic air travelers can use lavatories aboard planes, Lin said, adding that observation decks at the airports in Taipei and Kaohsiung would be reopened to the public.
“We want to remind travelers that the COVID-19 pandemic is not completely over,” Lin said. “Passengers still need to wear a mask when they are in airports and should clean their hands with alcohol at entrances.”
“Inbound travelers should pick up four COVID-19 rapid test kits upon arrival and use them while they are in self-initiated disease prevention,” he said.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said that having so many inbound tourists arriving on the first day of the border reopening is a good start.
Taiwan is welcoming tourists from around the world, he said, adding that hopefully the number of international tourists would quickly return to pre-pandemic levels.
Based on CECC guidelines, arriving travelers would be screened for COVID-19 using rapid test kits on the day they arrive.
The self-initiated prevention period can be conducted in hotels or residences of the passengers themselves, relatives or friends, provided that they meet the criteria of “one person, one room.”
During self-initiated prevention, inbound travelers should avoid contact with people with high risk of severe illness, including people over 65, children under six and immunocompromised people.
They should avoid visiting or taking care of patients in hospitals and long-term care facilities, and are advised to postpone non-urgent medical exams or treatment.
Asymptomatic people must test negative with a rapid test kits within two days before going outside.
They should wear a mask at all times at work and observe social distancing guidelines.
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