Taipei, April 9 (CNA) Passengers on all flights from Vietnam will be required to return a negative rapid antigen test for COVID-19 before flying to Taiwan from Saturday, the Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中).
The requirement for a rapid negative test within six hours of boarding a flight from Vietnam was first announced on Thursday for services operated by Vietnamese airlines, in addition to a negative test of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) performed within two days before the flight, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
While positive rates have dropped among passengers arriving on Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airways flights since the measure was introduced, the CECC has seen an increase in arrivals on flights operated by Taiwanese carriers, Chen said. during a CECC press briefing on Saturday.
As a result, the rapid test requirement, which is expected to continue until May 6, has been extended to all flights from Vietnam, regardless of carrier, from Saturday to reduce the impact of imported cases on Taiwan’s medical system amid a spike in domestic cases, Chen said.
According to the CECC, 52 of the 107 people who tested positive upon arrival in Taiwan on Friday arrived on four flights from Vietnam, while the total number of arrivals that day was 2,278 on 25 flights.
Positive case figures from Vietnam on Thursday were 11 out of four flights out of a total of 69 passengers infected out of 23 flights, and 17 out of six flights from the Southeast Asian country out of a total of 78 on 27 flights Wednesday, CECC data showed.
On Saturday, Taiwan reported a total of 578 new COVID-19 cases, 442 locally transmitted and 136 imported. Of the imported cases, 107 were travelers who arrived on Friday, according to the CECC.