Taiwan plans to reduce the quarantine period for vaccinated arrivals from mid-May, in one of the first measurable signs that Asian countries are at least considering opening international travel again.
It’s a far cry from open doors, but if successful, it could pave the way for other nations weighing the risks and rewards of allowing a safe resumption in travel, a critical global industry which employs more than 300,000,000 people around the world.
Taiwan’s Proposal For International Visitors
Taiwan plans to trial a 7 day quarantine for international arrivals, in place of 14 days, starting from mid-May. The move would also loosen extremely restrictive current entry rules.
A negative PCR test prior to travel, and a test after arrival to prove vaccination status are also expected, as well as another PCR test on the 7th day after arrival. Israel plans to test arrivals for markers of vaccines as well, while certificates of vaccination remain crude and prone to tamper and forgery.
Initial visitor numbers will be limited during the early days of the trial period, but if all goes well, Taiwan will open more broadly in the weeks and months following. Taiwan could even drop quarantine all together for the vaccinated, if early inbound travelers don’t render any new positive cases.
If you’ve been missing Asia, this will be a key story to follow.
Taiwan is the first to test the waters, so to speak, after a remarkable job in beating back the pandemic.
Thailand plans to open to all vaccinated travelers in July, but only on the island of Phuket. Even those plans are being called into doubt, based on the ability to get locals vaccinated in time.
If Taiwan can pull off a successful campaign to bring outside visitors back, without any harm done the extremely well handled current pandemic situation, others, including the likes of Singapore may be inclined to follow quickly.
Singapore is currently testing the IATA Travel Pass app, which will help to verify vaccination status for potential future visitors. The app is more secure than pieces of paper, and allows countries to upload official vaccination records. Countries including Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and others, have been less transparent with reopening plans.
Cautiously Optimistic About Travel
Travel between the USA and Europe is expected to reopen again by summer for those fully vaccinated, or in some cases, those willing to provide a negative test. Asia remains more closed than other regions of the world.
Japan hoped to welcome visitors by spring, but those efforts are in jeopardy with rising cases and relatively slow vaccination. Still, if real world data for samples of vaccinated travelers shows no reason to worry, it could all come together rather quickly.
Asia may be largely off limits to outside visitors and non-citizens of respective countries for the time being, but Taiwan will be a story to watch. If things go well, it may not be nearly as long as expected before that next getaway.