Yesterday, I noticed that a number of tweaks have been made to the Taiwan quarantine regime since the last time I experienced it in April this year. The most notable ones were at the airport, where we had to wait an hour for our luggage to arrive on the carousel because it was being disinfected. How I longed for the days when I could rush through the e-Gate with just carry-on luggage and be speeding on my way home in five minutes!
I also had to undergo inspections of our Covid testing, arrival, and quarantine hotel documentation at various checkpoints as well as taking a saliva test before finally being allowed to take a taxi. Overall, the process took about two hours — not that I had anywhere to go to afterwards except confinement in my quarantine hotel.
After I’d settled into my hotel room, I received a call from the local police station to make sure I was in place and understood all the regulations. Every day I will have to respond to texts from the CEEC regarding my health status, and in a new development I will have to administer an antigen test and then undergo a full PCR test before I am allowed to leave.
The quarantine procedures are a lot more stringent in Taiwan than in most countries throughout the world. But judging by the island’s extraordinarily low infection rates they have also proven to be among the most effective in mitigating the spread of Covid. Given these results, a couple of weeks of isolation is a small price to pay.
It helps, too, that the airport staff and government officials who are responsible for implementing the quarantine program are extremely polite and professional in how they carry out what is a tough and potentially dangerous job. The warmth and helpfulness with which they greeted our plane at five o’clock in the morning certainly reminded me of why I love living in Taiwan so much!