Taiwan has announced a temporary ban on the entry of non-Taiwanese nationals starting Friday after it discovered a new coronavirus variant first detected in Britain in a Covid-19 patient.
Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung told a news conference that the variant was found in a patient who arrived in Taiwan from Britain on Sunday. Chen said the patient is in stable condition.
Chen said the discovery of the virus variant might pose no risk to the community.
Amid concerns over the increasing number of imported cases of the new coronavirus, Chen said stricter border control measures will be imposed on 1 January and such new rules may last for about one month.
According to Chen, starting Friday, all non-Taiwan nationals will be banned from entering the island unless they have a residency permit or special visa for various purposes such as business or diplomacy.
In addition, all transit passengers will also be banned starting Friday, Chen said.
Chen added that starting 15 January, Taiwan nationals returning from overseas will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine either in quarantine hotels or government-run facilities unless they can stay home without any family around.
As of Wednesday, Taiwan, an island with a population of 23.5 million, has reported just 797 Covid-19 cases, with 7 virus-related deaths, according to the Central Epidemic Command Centre (CECC).
Taiwan on 22 December reported its first locally transmitted Covid-19 case since April 12.
Chen said that Taiwan has ordered about 20 million Covid-19 vaccines, which may be available in March, and that Taiwan aims to acquire at least 30 million vaccines.