International travel plans are still on hold for much of the world. That’s definitely the case in most parts of the Asia Pacific — but visitors from one location are getting a warmer welcome.
Later this week, travelers from Taiwan will be welcome in Singapore, and won’t have to undergo any quarantine — as long as they test negative for COVID-19 when they land.
That’s a change, and it’s a direct result of Taiwan’s success in managing the spread of the coronavirus.
The arrangement does not go both ways, Taiwan still is not allowing any foreign visitors. And in fact any Taiwanese citizen who wants to travel outside needs to test negative for the virus within three days of their return, then undergo another test upon arrival and then quarantine for fourteen days after that.
Local health officials say tough restrictions like those have been a crucial part of Taiwan’s success in fighting the virus, along with early and extensive steps, from widespread mask-wearing to aggressive contact tracing.
Taiwan’s Health Minister told the BBC that focus extends to the period when people are starting to get vaccinated. He cautioned against overconfidence — saying, “we are worried that while vaccinations are being carried out, everyone will be relaxed.”
In making the announcement about the new travel arrangements, Singapore’s government noted that Taiwan has not had any local cases of COVID-19 for the past 28 days — and counting.