Lifting an entry ban on overseas workers is being discussed, with people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to be the first allowed in, Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) said yesterday, while the Ministry of Health and Welfare updated the vaccination rate in Taiwan.
“Agencies have been discussing supporting measures once the ban is lifted, and fully vaccinated migrant workers will be given priority,” Hsu said ahead of a meeting of the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
Arriving migrant workers would be required to present a certificate of vaccination and a negative polymerase chain reaction test result conducted within three days prior to departure for Taiwan, she said.
Once in Taiwan, they would undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, followed by a week of self-health management, she said, without offering any indication of when entry restrictions would be eased, except to say that it would hopefully be this year.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and health ministry officials also attended the meeting, at which they discussed labor subsidies during the pandemic after a shortage of workers that has worsened in Taiwan since a local outbreak of COVID-19 began in May.
Taiwan established an entry ban for Indonesian migrant workers in December last year as there was a serious COVID-19 outbreak there at the time.
The government has since May 19 barred all new migrant workers from entering Taiwan following a spike in local cases.
The number of migrant workers in Taiwan first exceeded 700,000 in September 2018 and in February last year exceeded 719,000, statistics from the Ministry of Labor showed.
The number fell to 699,154 in August, the data showed.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said that the government has about 1.3 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses on hand, meaning it has nearly 3 million doses of all brands, which is about how many people are waiting to receive a second dose.
About 4.1 million to 4.4 million doses are to be administered in the 12th round of the national vaccination program, which is a challenging task for local governments and healthcare providers, so the CECC is grateful for their hard work, Chen said.
“Our goal is to achieve a first-dose vaccination rate of 70 percent and full vaccination coverage of 30 percent by the end of the month,” he said.
As the first-dose vaccination rate was 58.88 percent and the full vaccination rate was about 20 percent as of yesterday, 4.7 million doses, or an average of 350,000 per day, must be administered to achieve the target, Chen added.
Additional reporting by Lee I-chia
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