Migrant workers must fly directly to Taiwan to avoid quarantine: MOL

Travelers undergo safety checks while arriving at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Feb. 12, 2020. (CNA)
Travelers undergo safety checks while arriving at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Feb. 12, 2020. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Labor authorities are advising employers to have their migrant workers travel to Taiwan via direct flights rather than by transiting through China, Hong Kong or Macau to avoid 14-day quarantines amid the coronavirus scare.

The advisory came after Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that starting Feb. 10, people who transit through China, Hong Kong or Macau before arriving in Taiwan are subject to “home quarantine” for 14 days.

According to the Ministry of Labor (MOL), 16 migrant workers are currently in “home quarantine” at residences arranged by their employers because they transited through Hong Kong or Macau on their way to Taiwan after the new rule took effect on Feb. 10.

The MOL therefore advised Taiwanese employers of migrant workers to arrange for their employees to travel to Taiwan for work on direct flights or to transit through places other than China, Hong Kong or Macau.

The MOL also reminded migrant workers that they are required to get a health checkup within three days of arriving Taiwan, but for those workers who are in “home quarantine,” the health check can be done within three days after the quarantine period ends.

People subject to “home quarantine” receive daily health-check calls from their ward chief and are also under electronic surveillance through their cell phones.

Individuals who violate the terms of their home quarantine can face a maximum fine of NT$150,000 under Taiwan’s Communicable Disease Control Act.

The quarantine measure has been taken as Taiwan tightens travel restrictions to keep the coronavirus that has gripped China at bay.

The virus, now officially called COVID-19, with CO representing “corona,” VI meaning “virus,” and D meaning “disease,” began in Wuhan in December.

Since then, there have been more than 44,000 confirmed cases of the infection in 28 countries and more than 1,000 deaths, mostly in China, as of Wednesday morning.

Taiwan has so far recorded 18 confirmed cases.

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