An illogical move
A number of passengers from the United States who made a stopover in Taiwan were also barred from entering the country and were told by Bureau of Immigration agents to go back to the airport from which they came. Adding to the confusion was an announcement by one Health undersecretary that the travel ban had indeed been expanded to cover not just China, Hong Kong, and Macau but Taiwan as well—even while his colleague at a Palace briefing said nothing had yet been decided. At least one official said Taiwan was included because of the country’s “One China” policy—a political concession to Beijing as Taiwan functions as a sovereign and independent state from the People’s Republic of China, issuing its own passports and visas. In fact, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office assets that “Taiwan is not, nor has it ever been, part of the PRC.” TECO, which serves as the de facto Taiwan embassy, notes that it has taken measures as well to contain the spread of nCoV. On Monday, Taiwan temporarily closed its borders to most residents of Hong Kong and Macau. A week earlier, it had temporarily banned the entry of all mainland Chinese citizens, as well as foreign nationals who may have been in China, Hong Kong or Macau in the 14 days leading up to their travel to Taiwan. For political reasons, the World Health Organization (WHO) lumps Taiwan’s statistics with mainland Chinese cities, even though it operates for all intents and purposes as an independent state.