Taiwan, Pacific ally Palau to open travel bubble next month

In this May 30, 2020, file photo, a couple wear face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus as the pass in front of the Love Sculpture, inspired by the iconic design by American artist Robert Indiana, in a popular tourist spot Taipei, Taiwan. Taiwan and the Pacific nation of Palau will launch a travel bubble next month, allowing people to travel between the islands without a COVID-19 quarantine.




TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan and the Pacific nation of Palau will launch a travel bubble next month, allowing people to travel between the islands without a COVID-19 quarantine.

Palau is one of Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic allies after China lured other countries to deny recognition of the self-governed island it considers part of its own territory.

The travel bubble will be Taiwan’s first after it largely closed to foreign travel in one of the world’s most successful campaigns against the coronavirus.

Palau for its part has had zero cases of COVID-19, Chen Shih-chung, the head of Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center, said ata news conference announcing the bubble Wednesday.

Travelers must be in group tours and must meet certain health conditions but will not have to quarantine, according to Chen.

Travelers must have not been outside borders in six months, have no history of being asked to quarantine in the last two months and have not been infected with the coronavirus in the last three months, Chen said. They must take a virus test before leaving Taiwan and upon returning and must monitor their health, especially in the first five days upon their return.

The bubble will start with two flights per week between the two islands, with the first flight scheduled on April 1.