The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has announced that Taiwan will partially lift restrictions on the entry of foreign visitors starting from March 1, as well as allow transit flights through Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
Under the new policy, foreign nationals without residency permits will be allowed to enter Taiwan for reasons excluding tourism, as long as they receive advance permission from Taiwan’s overseas representative offices.
Additionally, short-term business travelers from countries deemed to be at low or low-to-moderate risk of COVID-19 will be able to apply for shorter quarantine periods.
People who attend large gatherings in Taiwan will continue to be required to wear masks and forbidden from eating or drinking anything other than water.
The policy was implemented on Dec. 24 and originally set to end on Feb. 28, but will now be extended indefinitely.
However, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has stated that the ban on eating and drinking on public transportation will be lifted from March 2, which was confirmed by the CECC.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has defended the use of the term “Wuhan pneumonia” (武漢肺炎), which is a common term used in Taiwan for Covid-19, saying the virus originated from Wuhan, China, and that the term is based on geography.
He added that when the virus was found to have mutated into a new form in the U.K., Taiwan referred to it as the “U.K. strain.”
He also stated that German measles, Japanese encephalitis, and the Mandarin name for athlete’s foot, “Hong Kong foot” (香港腳), had all come about the same way.
He emphasized that “Wuhan pneumonia” was not meant to pass judgment but solely to describe the geographic origin of the virus.
This partly was in response to criticism leveled at him by Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC) Chair and now KMT chair candidate Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康), who said using the term ‘dishonoured’ China.
Both KMT Chair Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) and Taipei Mayor and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chair Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) downplayed their appearing together on stage at a KMT-organized event.
This appearance had caused considerable speculation on a possible cooperation between the parties in the 2022 elections.
Both emphasized the theme of the one-day forum was on social justice issues, and that both parties are open to cooperating on specific issues.
The TPP also repeatedly emphasized that they have in past invited DPP figures to their forums.
Neither explicitly ruled out any future cooperation, however.
Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) has began buying water by the truckload for some of its chip foundries in Taiwan due to water restrictions imposed during the current water shortage, and as a hedge against the problem getting worse in coming months.
Moody’s Investors Service yesterday affirmed Taiwan’s sovereign credit rating of “Aa3” and changed its credit outlook for the nation to “positive” from “stable,” the first time the ratings agency has given the nation that credit outlook since 1994.
Moody’s said in a statement “The decision to change the outlook to positive from stable reflects increasing signs that Taiwan’s economy is more resilient and that its governance strength is stronger than previously assessed.”
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) announced that Taiwan’s export orders in January grew for the 11th consecutive month to US$52.72 billion, a year-on-year increase of 49.3 percent.
After seasonal adjustments, however, that is only 33.6 percent year-on-year growth–and it is also true that this year has a lower comparison base because of fewer workdays in January last year due to the Lunar New Year holiday.
That being said, the figure still represented a historical high for the month.
Image courtesy of Ko Wen-je’s FB page