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Taiwan, Japan issue new border restrictions

Taiwan and Japan are among several countries that have tightened border restrictions until at least the end of January for non-citizens following the discovery of a new strain of Covid-19 in the UK.

TaiwanTaiwan and Japan have both restricted entry for foreign nationals. Photo: Unplash

49 students currently have outstanding permits to enter Taiwan

In Taiwan, Alien Resident Certificate holders and students who have received special permission to enter the country through “approval from ROC [Republic of China] central competent authorities or agencies” will be exempt from the tightened regulations.

However, the Ministry of Education also announced it would not be issuing special entry permits to students this month so only those who have already obtained them will be able to enter the country. According to the MOE, 49 students currently have outstanding permits who have not returned to the country.

Speaking with Taiwan’s Central News Agency, vice president for international and Mainland China affairs at Chinese Culture University Ben Chen said that “the decision will affect mainly international students who had applied to start school in the 2021 spring semester in February and those who are currently out of the country with expired residency permits”.

“The decision will affect mainly international students who had applied to start school in the 2021 spring semester in February”

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center further added that “apart from the original requirement of providing a COVID-19 RT-PCR test report issued within three days of boarding, arriving travellers must also provide proof of the location of their intended quarantine.”

“In principle, travellers should quarantine at a group quarantine facility or quarantine hotel; those who choose to quarantine at home must sign an affidavit declaring they have met the requirement of one person per residence,” it added.

The MOE has additionally advised international students in Taiwan not to leave the country as they may find themselves unable to return.

Meanwhile in Japan, prime minister Yoshihide Suga said restrictions had been brought in to “protect our citizens’ lives and livelihoods, by taking measures in advance”.

The country, which is due to host the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics later this year, has barred entry to all non-resident foreign nationals just weeks after unveiling plans to increase international student numbers from 2022 onwards at national universities (as opposed to public and private ones).

In addition to universities, the language market for Chinese and Japanese in the two countries will also take a hit, although stakeholders say they will continue pressing ahead with online sales which have offered a form of stability throughout the pandemic.

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