TAIPEI – A day after confirming the launch of a travel bubble with Palau, Taiwan’s health minister said the next on the island’s list for a travel bubble would likely be Singapore.
Last December, Singapore announced a unilateral lifting of restrictions for travellers entering the country from Taiwan, exempting them from the two-week mandatory quarantine and only requiring them to take a Covid-19 test upon arrival.
On Thursday (March 18), Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said discussions have begun between Taiwan and Singapore, as the latter has been hoping for Taiwan to match its unilateral measure.
Mr Chen also heads the Central Epidemic Command Centre, which coordinates all strategies related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung on Thursday said that while Japan, South Korea and Vietnam are all discussing the possibilities of travel bubbles with Taiwan, “Singapore is by far the most proactive.”
However, Mr Lin declined to reveal more, saying that details are still under discussion.
Taiwan’s travel bubble with diplomatic ally Palau will kick off on April 1, allowing two flights of 110 passengers each to fly to Palau.
Travellers from both sides are required to be a part of tour groups, and must visit each site and their hotels in a group.
“Taiwan has opted to open a travel bubble with Palau first because Palau has kept its record of zero confirmed Covid-19 cases, so this made policy decisions easier to make,” said Mr Chen.
But he admitted that the challenge would be how Taiwan can ensure that its travellers are not bringing the virus into Palau.
“Thankfully, Palau ultimately trusted that Taiwan’s screenings are valid and made the travel bubble happen,” said the Health Minister.
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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.