IATA incorrectly listed Taiwan in Russia entry ban for hours

MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (CNA file photo)
MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (CNA file photo)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — The International Air Transport Association (IATA) incorrectly included Taiwan as part of Russia’s travel ban on its website for hours on Friday.

A note was published on IATA’s website on Thursday (Feb. 20) that read “passengers with a Hong Kong, Macao or Chinese Taipei’s (on the cover: Republic of China Taiwan) passport are not allowed to enter Russian Fed.”

This image is a screenshot of the IATA's website made on Feb. 21, 2020. (Courtesy of Mimi Hsin Hsuan Sun)
This image is a screenshot of the IATA’s website made on Feb. 21, 2020. (Courtesy of Mimi Hsin Hsuan Sun)

Taiwan’s Representative Office in Moscow said near midnight on Thursday that Russia did not barred Taiwanese from entering the country and that it had requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA, 外交部) to step in.

The post has now been amended upon Taiwan’s request, MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) told The China Post late Friday night.

As the number of infections continues grow in China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, Taiwan struggles to differentiate itself from the East Asian giant.

As of press time, Bangladesh, Italy, Mauritius, Mongolia, and Vanuatu still have travel restrictions in place for travelers from Taiwan or Taiwanese passport holders but none for countries where the coronavirus outbreak is worse.

In one of the most extreme examples, more than one hundred Taiwanese were stranded in Manila overnight early this month because of an order the Philippines issued that said a travel ban imposed on China “includes Taiwan under the One China Policy”. President Rodrigo Duterte later denied that the policy played a role in the decision.

While the ban was soon lifted, the event highlighted the extra steps Taiwan have to take to distinguish itself from the virus-stricken neighbor in this global battle against the COVID-19 epidemic.