I expected this, but not so soon. I could leave and come back, but I have no plans to.
Sadly, this means friends of mine who planned to return won’t be able to.
Taiwan will bar all foreign nationals from entering Taiwan starting Thursday, with some exceptions, as it intensifies efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.
Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), announced the new restrictions at a CECC news conference Wednesday, and said it was necessary after seeing a spike in confirmed cases among Taiwanese who had traveled abroad recently.
Among the foreign nationals who will not be subject to the ban are those who hold Alien Resident Certificates (ARCs) or documents proving they are in Taiwan for diplomatic or other official purposes or to fulfill business contracts, as well as those who have received special permits, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said.
Freight ships continue to come and go (imports and exports), but the crews are not permitted to leave the ships while in port. They can be unloaded by machine without human contact.
Other unsurprising developments:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not grant any extensions to foreign nationals with visitor visas. Force majeure (other than COVID-19), a lack of available flights, quarantine or a total lockdown on the foreigner’s home country are the only exceptions for remaining past the expiry date. I guess we’ll find out who the illegal workers are when they can’t do visa runs anymore.
The government plans an NT$100 billion (~US$3b) stimulus package in expectation of a 2% drop in the local economy over the next year. Foreigners did not receive any in 2008, so it’s unlikely we will this time either. I’ll just be glad to keep my job, residency visa and health care card.