One of the main reasons Taiwan managed to keep the spread of COVID-19 at bay was its strict quarantine regulations imposed on people entering the country. Anybody flying into Taiwan (apart from those with incredibly rare cases of special dispensation) are required by law to spend two weeks in a quarantine hotel or similar residence before being allowed to mix with the population. Here are ten commonly asked questions regarding quarantining in Taiwan.
Who Can Enter Taiwan at the Moment?
Taiwanese nationals and Taiwan residents (ARC [Alien Residence Certificate] and APRC holders/spouses of Taiwanese nationals) are the two groups for whom it is currently easiest to enter Taiwan. There are also exceptions for diplomats, business travelers and those coming in for medical treatment. The borders are currently shut to tourists and all other non-nationals/residents.
Who Needs to Quarantine When coming to Taiwan?
Everyone needs to quarantine when coming to Taiwan. Eligible travelers must present negative COVID-19 test results when checking-in at the airport ahead of their flight. Also, it is suggested that you log into the Quarantine System for Entry (https://hdhq.mohw.gov.tw/) when checking-in or prior to departure as well as filling out a health declaration form (For an example of the said form from EVA Air, click here).
How Long is the Quarantine Period?
There are 14 days of home quarantine (also meaning in a hotel) followed by 7 days of self-health management where there are restrictions on where you can go, including public transport and large public events.
The 14 days do not include the arrival date. For example, if you arrived on August 12th, your quarantine days will start being counted from the 13th, which means you will not be allowed to go out until August 27th.
Can You Quarantine with Friends and Family?
If there aren’t other people at the residence who didn’t travel with you, yes. But you must stay in separate rooms with separate bathrooms and avoid contact with each other. Ideally you will stay in a one-person residence/hotel, which basically means your own room with a private bathroom.
Where Can I Stay during My 14-Day Quarantine?
You must stay at a designated one-person residence usually at a quarantine hotel or at home. You can find out how to book yourself a room in a quarantine hotel here:
A friendly reminder: as your quarantine starts a day after your arrival (see Question 3), you will need to book 15 nights at the hotel you choose.
Another friendly reminder: Double check with the hotel you’d like to book by phone or email to check availability. You will not be able to book a quarantine on booking.com or Agoda etc.
One more (and the last one, we promise.) reminder: There are several websites that coordinate all the quarantine hotels in Taiwan, such as AsiaYO, 14Holidays and Taipei Traveler. Their booking system is in Chinese, however…
Can you Rent an Apartment or Suite or Stay at a Company’s Dormitory for Your Quarantine?
For apartments, yes, as long as there is nobody else living on the same floor at the same time. Also, yes for dorms, again as long as there is nobody else living there at the time and you have your own room and bathroom separate from others who are also quarantining.
How Much Do I Have to Pay to Stay at a Quarantine Hotel?
The cost of your stay will depend on your hotel. Prices range from NT$1,600 to NT$16,000 per room per night! The usual price range is around NT$2,000-4,000 per room per night, though.
Most of the quarantine hotels already include the fees of daily meals in the room rate. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners will be sent to your door every day, but the down side is that you cannot choose what to eat (Taiwanese bento boxes as the photo below are common options.).
Some hotels will refund a little if you can take care of your own meals by using delivery apps such as Uber Eats or Food Panda. They can drop your orders at the hotel entrance and the hotel staff will bring the meals to your door.
How Do I Get from the Airport to Where I’m Staying?
The best advised way to get to your place of residence from the airport is by taxi. Special taxis using pandemic prevention measures are available, ensuring the driver is safe from potential infection. You can access them from the airport taxi counter. The average price for a one-way trip from Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei City is about NT$1,000 (charged by meter). If your quarantine hotel is in Kaohsiung, it will cost you around NT$2,700 by taxi from Taoyuan.
You’re not allowed to to take public transportation to your hotel. Violators will be fined between NT$100,000 to NT$1 million.
What is the Punishment for Breaking Quarantine in Taiwan?
You will be fined, also ranging from NT$100,000 to NT$1 million. A man was fined NT$100,000 last December for simply stepping out of his room for 8 seconds at his quarantine hotel. So, yeah, it’s probably best you stay in your room…
“From the landing in Taiwan to being sent to the booked hotel, all the procedures went smoothly and efficiently. I thought I may have some concerns about the 14-day quarantine life in the beginning, but it turned out just fine. During my stay in the hotel, the administrative officials in my area called twice a day to check on my physical condition; in the middle of the period, I even got a call from a Taiwan CDC volunteer to care for my mental condition. I really appreciated their help.” – Lizzie (Tokyo-Taipei)
“I was able to quarantine at home, so it wasn’t too bad. But I was very impressed by how Taiwan took it so seriously by calling and messaging me every day to make I was ok and still in quarantine. And they also they sent me a care package with snacks, instant noodles, a thermometer, hand sanitizer, and masks.” – Chris (Los Angeles-Taipei)
“How to kill the time was my top concern before starting my quarantine. And I found that having a SIM card with internet at the airport helps a lot, as the WIFI in my room had a super weak signal. You must have a SIM card anyway as you need to fill in your phone numbers at the entry. My room had a balcony, which was a big plus to me too. I could take a “outdoor” breath when I need it and even do the laundry there! No washing machine, though. I washed my clothes during the quarantine all by hand with a soap. – Yi Shang (Korea-Taipei)
“I started to feel a sore throat three days after starting the quarantine so I reported it to the authorities immediately. They sent an ambulance to my hotel right away, followed by a series of health checks including a lung X-ray. Luckily, my lungs were fine, no sign of infection. They still kept me at the hospital for 4~5 hours just to make sure I didn’t have a fever. I was given some medicine for curing a cold before they arranged another ambulance to send me back to the hotel.”– Jane (London -Taipei)
“Before I returned to Taiwan, my husband and I talked about what would be the best option for us to go through the whole quarantine. As he works in Taiwan and lives in our apartment, if I want to quarantine at home, he cannot stay in house either. But then we realized that there are actually regular hotels in Taiwan offering way cheaper prices to the family members of people quarantining, which a huge budget-saver for us! And eventually that’s what we did: I quarantined at our place and he booked a room at a hotel nearby. That totally made much more sense as he was allowed to go out freely, and sometimes even drop lunch at the door for me.” – Tina (Singapore-Taipei)
@NINA TAIWAN妮娜 on Youtube shares her experience of quarantine in Taiwan.