CECC won’t allow mainland relatives to fly back to Taiwan

Chen Shih-chung reacts at the press conference on Feb. 12, 2020. (YouTube)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — The Central Epidemic Command Center officially retracted on Wednesday a policy drawn up by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) a day earlier that would have allowed the mainland spouses and children of Taiwan nationals to return to Taiwan amid the ongoing virus outbreak.

Speaking at a daily news briefing, CECC Chief Commander Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said mainland spouses and their children in China, Hong Kong, and Macau, who don’t hold a Taiwan passport may not re-enter the country.

The CECC made the announcement in consideration of three factors: the virus’ development, professionals’ assessment and the lowering of contacts within the infected areas, he explained.

Chen said that Taiwan citizens are the top priority while stressing that the process of vetting, monitoring and checking travelers’ health are all “linked.”

If society doesn’t take preventive measures, he went on, there won’t be enough quarantine workers, medical staff will become even more burdened and hospitals will become even more crowded, he continued.

After much deliberation, the CECC said that it aims to prevent a loophole in its efforts of epidemic prevention.

Chen also stressed that mainland spouses can “choose their nationality” and have to accept the consequences of the choices they made.

The CECC  head said that during the deliberation process, they did take into consideration the human aspect of the problem. However, after looking at Taiwan’s current situation and anticipation of what might come, they reached the present decision.

The retracted policy was one drawn up by the MAC on Tuesday in which minor children of Taiwanese nationals or their Chinese spouses, who hold either long-term residence permits or long-term family visit permits in Taiwan, will be allowed to enter Taiwan but need to be quarantined for 14 days.

Yet, today’s announcement contrasts with South Korea whose third evacuation flight from Wuhan took off this morning carrying 140 or so of its citizens and 60 plus Chinese spouses and family members on board, with five of them showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

In taking into account the same factors, the Korean government has evacuated all Chinese family members of its citizens.

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