MOI staff banned from trips to high-risk nations

CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior (MOI) has imposed a ban that prohibits its personnel from visiting countries listed as the worst hit by the coronavirus disease COVID-19 that has swept across the globe.

The ministry said in a statement Monday that the ban was issued on March 13 to reduce the likelihood of its staff contracting the virus.

MOI personnel are banned from traveling to countries with the highest Level 3 travel warning, while those who want to go the countries with Level 1 and Level 2 warnings need to get permission from their superiors, the statement said.

Personnel of MOI-affiliated agencies, such as police departments and fire brigades, are not included in the ban, and if employees of those agencies plan to head overseas, they must obtain prior approval from their unit based on that unit’s rules, the statement said.

As of Monday, 76 countries and regions have been given Level 3 travel warnings by Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center, including Europe’s Schengen-area countries, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau and Iran.

Travelers who arrive in Taiwan from any of the countries with Level 3 warnings are required to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine.

In addition, the MOI said it is devising a three-phase plan to separate officials of different levels to work at various locations to ensure its smooth operations should the outbreak worsen.

Meanwhile, the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration said it will not forbid public servants from leaving the country, but it has asked every agency’s personnel department to carefully assess whether their people should be allowed to take overseas trips.

Some local governments, including Taichung, Tainan and Keelung cities as well as Penghu and Yunlin counties, have prohibited their employees from going abroad, while New Taipei has asked teachers not to visit high-risk countries.