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Israel adds Taiwan to list of 'green countries'

Qualified travelers from Taiwan no longer need to undergo quarantine in Israel

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Wednesday (Sept. 2) welcomed a decision by Israel to add Taiwan to its list of "green countries," or nations from which returning Israelis and qualified foreign nationals do not need to undergo quarantine.

On Monday (Aug. 31), Israel announced that it was adding Taiwan, along with Australia, Ireland, Portugal, Norway, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates to its original list of 10 green countries. Israelis and certain foreign citizens returning from these nations are not required to undergo self-isolation for 14 days as Israel's Ministry of Health has deemed them safer owing to the rate of infection of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) having gone down.

In response to the announcement, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Wednesday (Sept. 2) expressed its sincere thanks to the Israeli government for facilitating the entry of Taiwanese citizens during the pandemic. MOFA emphasized that the move will help the two countries expand exchanges and cooperation at all levels during and after the pandemic.

To cope with the pandemic, the Israeli government completely suspended the entry of international passengers on March 18 of this year. Recently, after assessing the current status of the pandemic and the effectiveness of epidemic prevention, Israel has decided to adopt a gradual approach, although business travelers and tourists are not yet allowed entry.

As part of a gradual opening to a select few countries that the Ministry of Health has found to have controlled their local outbreaks, Taiwan, which has not seen an officially confirmed local case since April 12, was included in the list of green countries. In addition to Israeli citizens, there are 18 categories of foreign nationals arriving from green countries who can also enter through the special program.

The 18 categories include spouses, permanent residents, children of Israeli citizens, foreign students, experts, lone soldiers, and others, according to the Israeli Ministry of Health website. Before departure, passengers from Taiwan who are eligible to enter Israel must prepare relevant supporting documents in accordance with the regulations and apply for a special entry permit from the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei in order to board a flight.

Taiwan and Israel have had close and frequent exchanges over many years, closely cooperating in fields such as medicine and healthcare, agriculture, science and technology, environmental protection, culture and education, economics and trade, tourism, and other fields. During the pandemic, the two countries have cooperated in various aspects of epidemic prevention.

For example, Taiwan has donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to Israel's frontline medical staff at the humanitarian organization Magen David Adom and the Shamir Medical Center, according to MOFA. In addition, Taiwan and Israel have also held several videoconferences on epidemic prevention, further deepening cooperation between the two countries in the field of public health.

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