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Taiwan fully reopens borders after 2.5 years of pandemic restrictions

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Oct 13, 2022 - 12:52 PM

ISTANBUL (AA) – Taiwan on Thursday fully reopened its borders to international travelers after a break of two-and-a-half years due to COVID-19 pandemic-driven restrictions.

Two tourist groups from Thailand were first to check in at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport past midnight on Thursday.

It has been the first group of tourists since the beginning of 2020 when the pandemic overwhelmed the world, the official news agency Focus Taiwan reported.

Taiwan had imposed severe restrictions on the entry of international travelers to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Victor Wang, head of Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center, and Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung greeted the arriving visitors with face masks and travel pillows.

“COVID-19 has made cross-border travel a near-impossibility over the past two-and-a-half years, and the reopening of borders presents an opportunity to revive and rebuild the market,” Chang said.

He said the government will help the “local tourism industry restore revenue from cross-border tourism to pre-COVID levels while expressing hope that workers who had to leave the tourism industry during the pandemic could return to the sector soon.”

The self-ruled island has reported nearly 7 million COVID-19 cases including over 11,600 deaths, according to the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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