Regulations on applications for entry to the nation by foreign spouses or minor children of Taiwanese have been relaxed effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported two new local and three imported cases of COVID-19.
Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy head of the center, said the relaxation meant that such applications would be treated as general cases, instead of special ones that are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
“Considering the recent local COVID-19 situation and the needs of foreign spouses and children to visit their family in Taiwan, we are allowing Taiwan’s overseas representative offices to approve such applications as general cases,” Chen said.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of the Interior
“The policy also includes spouses and minor children from China, Hong Kong and Macau,” he added.
When a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert was issued on May 19, foreign nationals without a valid residence permit were temporarily banned from entering Taiwan.
They were only allowed to apply for a special entry visa after being granted special permission by the CECC for emergencies or on humanitarian grounds.
Under the new policy, foreign spouses or minor children of Taiwanese can directly apply for a dependent visa or a family visit visa at Taiwan’s representative offices, and receive a special entry permit visa, the CECC said.
Dependent visas that were due to expire between May 19 and yesterday would be automatically extended until Dec. 31, it said.
Reporting on the latest domestic COVID-19 cases, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that one of the local cases is a woman in her 50s who lives in Taoyuan and is the wife of a previously confirmed case, who is linked to the preschool cluster of infections in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋).
The other case is a woman in her 60s who lives in New Taipei City and is the grandmother of a confirmed case — a student at a junior high school in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山), who was infected with the Alpha variant of SARS-CoV-2, Chen said.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said that genome sequencing of a virus sample from another case in the preschool cluster showed that the person was infected with the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.
However, genome sequencing of the virus samples from two other cases associated with the cluster — a foreign national who is the father of a preschool student and an anesthetist who lives in the same building — failed to identify the virus strain, as the viral loads of the two cases were too low, he said.
So far, 21 cases associated with the preschool cluster have been confirmed as being infected with the Delta variant, CECC data showed.
The CECC also reported three imported cases from Japan and the US, and no COVID-19 deaths.
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