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Taiwan removes Singapore, Malaysia from initial list of countries eligible for visa-free entry

Taiwan removes Singapore, Malaysia from initial list of countries eligible for visa-free entry

Passengers arriving at Taoyuan Airport on March 19, 2020. (Photo: AFP/ Sam Yeh)

SINGAPORE: Taiwan has removed Singapore, Malaysia and a host of other countries from an initial list of nations announced as eligible for visa-free entry starting next week.

On Monday (Sep 5), a table published online by Taiwan's Bureau of Consular Affairs showed that visitors from Singapore and Malaysia, among other countries, were allowed to travel to the island visa-free and stay for up to 30 days.

Japan and South Korea were also named in a larger grouping of countries whose nationals would be eligible for visa-free entry to Taiwan and to stay for up to 90 days.

But on Tuesday, the webpage was updated to reflect that Taiwan would be "temporarily suspending" visa-free entry for visitors from the countries named above, as well as Chile, Dominican Republic, Israel, Nicaragua, Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines and Russia.

The Taipei Representative Office in Singapore said on Tuesday that a press release on the adjustment of border control measures issued on Monday had been "misunderstood". 

"Some media and the public misunderstood that from Sep 12, Singaporeans can enter Taiwan without a visa.

"After coordination and communication with the Consular Affairs Bureau, the (information) has been corrected ... to clarify the misunderstanding," the office said in a statement to the media.

CNA has also contacted Taiwan's Bureau of Consular Affairs for more information.

On Monday, Taiwan announced it would resume visa-free entry for visitors from several countries starting on Sep 12, as it continues to ease controls put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The decision was made based on the fact that most countries around the world have already reopened their borders and resumed pre-pandemic border measures; along with the need to balance epidemic prevention, economic and social activities and international exchanges.

Travellers to Taiwan however will still be required to undergo three days of quarantine and take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival. 

The cap of 50,000 arrivals a week will also remain. 

Taiwan has already ended the requirement for pre-departure negative PCR tests.

Before the pandemic, Taiwan was a popular tourist destination for mainly Asian visitors, with Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia the most important markets.

Source: CNA/yb(jo)


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