Taiwan suspends Indonesian migrant workers entry after virus surge


Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre on Monday said it would suspend entry of Indonesian workers starting this week after a spike in the number of coronavirus infections among migrant workers arriving from the Southeast Asian country.

Indonesia has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in Southeast Asia with more than half a million infected and almost 17,000 fatalities.

More than 250,000 migrant workers from Indonesia call Taiwan home, mostly working as domestic helpers.

While early and effective prevention measures have helped the island keep the pandemic well under control, with no local transmission for more than 200 days, it has grappled with a steady increase in the number of imported cases.

More than 70 Indonesians coming to Taiwan to work have tested positive since the start of this month, government figures show, often while still in mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The government said it would suspend entry of Indonesian workers from Dec. 4 to Dec. 17, and consider whether to resume entry from Dec. 18, but limiting the number to half of what had been expected.

Ensuing measures will depend on the situation, it added.

Twenty of the 24 new cases reported on Monday came from Indonesia, Taiwan said.

A total of 103 people are either in isolation or being treated in hospital for the disease in Taiwan at present.

From next month, Taiwan will stiffen entry requirements for all arrivals, requiring proof of negative tests from almost all of them, including Taiwanese nationals, who previously did not have to furnish such evidence. (Source: The Straits Times)