The Taiwanese CDC has just introduced new Covid-19 prevention measures that include a complete Entry and Transit Ban for non-Taiwanese nationals without a residence permit effective Wednesday, May 19th 2021.
This will severely impact the flight operations of EVA Air and China Airlines as the carriers largely lose the ability to upkeep their services, especially from North America to Asia via Taipei.
Taiwan was a rather busy transit hub in the past year with EVA Air and China Airlines stemming a lot of the passenger traffic between North America and especially South East Asia but with this sudden decision these doors are now slammed shut with passengers might be finding themselves in a difficult spot.
On May 17, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that due to the surges in the number of COVID-19 cases in Taiwan and other countries, Taiwan would implement new entry restrictions and measures listed below beginning 00:00 am on May 19 (departure time at the airport of departure).
A. Non-R.O.C. nationals without a valid Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) will be temporarily barred from entry. Exceptions may be made for individuals who obtain entry permission for emergency or humanitarian reason.
B. Transit travelers will be temporarily barred from entry.
The above-mentioned measures will be effective from May 19 to June 18 and will be adjusted on a rolling basis based on the status of the pandemic and effectiveness of those measures.
While the entry ability for Taiwan has been extremely strict since beginning of the pandemic the blockade of transit options is new and will definitely present a significant problem for passengers.
You can find China Airlines announcement here:
Eva Airlines (which should get an award for the worst website in the industry) announced it here:
When you follow the links on EVA Air’s website the links all lead to nothing or outside sources such as the TRAVELDOC website. Their FAQ’s are of very little help at this time as well.
They also announced on Twitter and Facebook but no specific words on flight arrangement and refunds:
In compliance with the latest instructions by Taiwan CDC, foreigners will be restricted from entry to Taiwan and transit via Taiwan beginning 00:00 am May 19th to June 18th, 2021, due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in Taiwan & other countries. More info:https://t.co/0Xz3ZBOqQ8 pic.twitter.com/zI40rPQesV
— EVA Air (@EVAAirUS) May 17, 2021
Many passengers on these posts have asked about clarification without getting any reply other than “Contact one of our offices” which are apparently swamped.
Based on this it’s very clear that no transit is possible for at least a month and holders of existing tickets should contact their airline immediately to ask for options and check the flight status.
In many cases it means that flights were cancelled entirely so even residents/nationals of Taiwan will be affected. I don’t think that China Airlines/EVA Air will accommodate passengers on other carriers except in special circumstances that are at the discretion of the airline. The only option in such cases would be a refund and to book through a carrier that is still accepting transits. Airports who are facilitating international transits right now include Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo.
A real problem might arise from this for example for passengers traveling to countries such as Thailand. The Certificate of Entry to enter the country and start your mandatory 14 day quarantine is specific to the date and flight under which it was applied for. This can’t just be changed at will and one would need to apply for a new certificate from the local embassy/consulate.
Taiwan has handled the entire Covid-19 situation extremely well and detected the danger early on. That being said it shows that these cases can pop up and then clusters develop. The governments then impose more or less drastic containment policies that turn out more or less effective. Hopefully this will help Taiwan to get it all back under control, life there was relatively normal over the past year.
Entry and Transit into/through Taiwan (Taipei) will be restricted for at least one month with several flights already cancelled. This situation is fluid and it might very well be that the measure will be extended so if you’re reliant on a flight for example in June I’d consider making arrangements on a different, non-Taiwanese carrier.
Passengers should check their flight status immediately and contact the airline. This situation might impact plans to arrive at a certain country where specific advance reservations and government clearance is required in order to enter and for example enter a quarantine period.