Taipei, April 15 (CNA) Crew members of Taiwanese airlines who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be exempt from quarantine when they return to Taiwan, while those who are not vaccinated will also enjoy relaxed quarantine rules, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.
The eased rules for vaccinated crew members will kick in two weeks after they receive their second COVID-19 vaccine dose, the CECC said.
If flight crew serve on long-haul flights or enter another country before returning, they will be required to follow self-health management protocols for seven days after entering Taiwan.
These protocols include wearing a mask at all times outside their homes, checking their temperatures twice per day and avoiding dining out or joining large gatherings. They can, however, use public transportation, according to the CECC.
On the seventh day, they will have to be tested for COVID-19.
Vaccinated flight crew on short-haul flights who did not enter another country before returning will not need to follow any additional rules when they come back.
Flight crew members became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Taiwan on Monday.
The CECC also announced that the quarantine length for unvaccinated crew members on long-haul flights will be reduced from the previous five days to three days from Friday.
At the end of the three-day quarantine, they will have to be tested for COVID-19 and then follow self-health management protocols for 11 days.
The CECC said that rules for unvaccinated short-haul flight crew members remain unchanged and they will be required to follow self-health management protocols for 14 days.
The CECC first introduced quarantine restrictions for flight crews in March last year to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
The rules were tightened in late December after an EVA Airways pilot infected two of his colleagues and a friend of his in Taiwan, in what was the country's first confirmed domestic transmission case in over 250 days at the time.
As domestic carriers and flight crew members have been closely observing disease prevention measures while on duty, the CECC decided to relax the quarantine requirements in March, and again on Thursday, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.