Business travelers should not have to quarantine for seven days after an overseas trip as the nation has been easing quarantine requirements for people infected with COVID-19, New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) said yesterday.
Business travelers are presently required to quarantine for seven days and practice self-health management for another seven days, the same as for other arrivals.
The NPP has proposed that business travelers should only be required to practice self-health management for seven days.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
The party yesterday set up a hotline for business travelers to voice what they need.
Chiu invited an entrepreneur surnamed Lee (李) to the news conference to share his experience.
“My firm did not get a questionnaire from the Bureau of Foreign Trade asking for our opinion on the proposed quarantine change until Tuesday,” Lee said. “Prior to Tuesday, there was no formal communication of any kind.”
Lee said he talked to a business association many times about the issue, but was told that he could not win a fight with the government.
Lee said he found it outrageous that officials would implement a major change in quarantine policy without asking businesspeople first.
“Nobody wants to contract COVID-19, but we have to travel for business,” he said.
“The government treats business travelers returning from overseas like they have contracted COVID-19 and requires them to quarantine, which is an outright humiliation to entrepreneurs,” Lee added.
The least the government could do is let entrepreneurs voice their opinion, he said.
“I traveled overseas 24 times in 2019. Over the past two years, I have complied with the government policy, reducing my overseas trips to eight, which meant that I quarantined for a total of two months. It messed up my life and my job,” he said.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs is “clueless” about most businesspeople’s complaints, Chiu said, adding that Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) did not discuss easing the quarantine requirements for business travelers with the ministry until Saturday last week.
“This shows that the government has not been regularly reviewing its policy on business travel and updating it accordingly,” Chiu said. “The border controls are presently the same for all arrivals. There is no difference between border controls for Taiwanese and foreigners — it’s not fair.”
The NPP recommended that the government exempt “low-risk, high-demand inbound travelers” from the quarantine requirements, including Taiwanese living abroad and businesspeople traveling for Taiwanese companies.
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