Government AffairsPossible Japan-Taiwan bubble, quarantine-free travel between China and Hong Kong, and Indonesia’s reopening to more countries.

Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Indonesia gear up for reopening

With the decreasing infection rates in Japan and Taiwan, the two countries discuss the possibility of a travel bubble.
With the decreasing infection rates in Japan and Taiwan, the two countries discuss the possibility of a travel bubble. Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Piyawan Charoenlimkul

The travel recovery wheels are churning into motion for several countries in the Asia Pacific region — a possible Japan-Taiwan bubble, talks for quarantine-free travel between China and Hong Kong, while Indonesia has reduced quarantine periods for all travellers.

Japan and Taiwan float idea of travel bubble

Philip Lo, deputy head of the Central Epidemic Command Centre’s (CECC) medical response division, highlighted in a Taiwan News article that Taiwan and Japan are discussing relaxing border restrictions between the two countries as Covid-19 cases gradually reduce.

In a 1 November Facebook post, infectious disease physician Lin Shi-pi noted that with Japan reporting 86 cases on 1 November — the first time the country’s infection rate dropped under triple-digit cases since 27 June 2020 — a "Taiwan-Japan tourism bubble" is conceivable.

He added that if the drop of Covid-19 infections continues progressing at this rate, a "Palau-style" tourism bubble between Japan and Taiwan is possible.

The Palau-Taiwan bubble, which resumed on 14 August, requires travellers from Taiwan to show proof of a single dose of Covid-19 vaccination for quarantine-free travel, instead of the previously mandatory double-dose.

Hong Kong and China could kick off quarantine-free travel

The doors from Hong Kong to mainland China for quarantine-free travel could open by February 2022, although business travel will receive priority, according to Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam in a SCMP article.

The article added that Beijing has confirmed that leaders from both sides have reached a “significant consensus” on reopening, and that progress is ongoing "in an orderly manner," said a spokesman for the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.

However, Hong Kong travellers can only enter the Guangdong province in
the first phase of reopening, via one entry point: Shenzhen. Entry is also subject to valid health codes and a quota system, in the same SCMP story.

Indonesia reduces quarantine period for international travellers

To date, Indonesia has reopened Bali to locals, as well as foreign visitors from 19 countries, including France, China, the UAE, and New Zealand — destinations which have been given the all clear due to lower levels of infected Covid-19 cases and transmission levels.

Next up, the government is working on a vaccinated travel lane with Australia.

Meanwhile, all foreign travellers can also expect a shortened mandatory quarantine period from five to three days, on top of showing proof of full vaccination, testing negative for Covid-19 at three separate occasions: upon leaving their country, arriving in Indonesia, and after end of quarantine.

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