Taipei City to welcome runaway migrants at COVID-19 testing sites

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) announced on Friday new epidemic prevention measures that allow runaway migrant workers to test for COVID-19 without fear of being arrested.

The announcement was made during a press conference during which Mayor Ko along with the Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced a series of epidemic-prevention measures to combat the rise of local infections and new cases found in the Taipei City Hospital Heping Branch (和平醫院).

The mayor said that the city has set up four Covid-19 testing sites in Wanhua District (萬華區) — Taipei City Hospital Zhongxing Branch (中興醫院), Taipei City Hospital Heping Branch (和平醫院) and West Garden Hospital (西園醫院).

A new test site was also set up in Bopiliao Historical Block (剝皮寮歷史街區) which started operating 4 p.m. on Friday. These testing points are opened every day from 8 a.m. to midnight.

Ko remarked that there are roughly 50,000 illegal migrant workers in Taiwan, to prevent possible infected migrants from hiding their illness out of fear of getting caught, Ko promised that these test sites wouldn’t be used to catch migrant workers without residence permits.

Ko also promised not to deport illegal migrant workers for coming to the hospital and encouraged them to seek medical help when finding symptoms indicating a possible infection.

According to media reports, deporting illegal foreigners is within the authority of the National Immigration Agency (移民署, NIA), but the government agency has yet to respond to the Taipei mayor’s announcement or issue a statement regarding the new policy.