Social media users smile at foreign officials skipping Taiwan quarantine

A group of French senators arrived in Taiwan for a five-day visit Wednesday, while former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot, who arrived a day earlier, met maskless with Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. (Courtesy of MOFA/Twitter)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Since early in the pandemic, Taiwan has pursued an unusual zero-tolerance approach to the virus through strict quarantines, a semi-lockdown and aggressive contact tracing.

While many nations have faced rising death tolls and disrupted lives, Taiwanese went back to workplaces, schools and sports stadiums safe from any community spread.

In light of the upcoming celebrations for Taiwan’s National Day, however, some social media users have remarked that foreign guests have managed to skip the mandatory quarantine.

More importantly, they will be able to meet with local officials in no time.

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday to deliver a keynote speech at the “Yushan forum — an Asian regional dialogue conference” organized by the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation on Friday morning.

He met maskless with the foreign minister on Wednesday during his trip as a private citizen, for which he did not need to quarantine, a foreign reporter noted on Twitter on Wednesday.

A group of French senators also arrived in Taiwan for a five-day visit Wednesday at the invitation of President Tsai Ing-wen.

The visit will likely provoke a rebuke from China but also disappoint the members and friends of Taiwan’s foreign community who have expressed hope that Taiwan would reopen its borders soon.

Even pilots who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have to quarantine for five days after returning to Taiwan from a long-haul flight.

They also need to follow enhanced self-health management guidelines for nine days, during which they are not permitted to take public transportation or visit crowded areas.

According to Epidemic Command Center regulations (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心), they also have to be tested for COVID-19 on the fifth, ninth and 14th day after their return to Taiwan.