Taiwan has announced the launch of its first travel bubble with diplomatic ally Palau, with Singapore potentially next on the list.
Discussions have reportedly underway between Taiwan and several countries in Asia Pacific, including Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, but the possibilities of a travel bubble with Singapore is "by far the most proactive", The Straits Times reported Taiwanese transportation minister Lin Chia-lung as saying.
Since last December, Singapore had announced a unilateral lifting of restrictions for travellers entering the country from Taiwan, exempting them from the two-week mandatory quarantine and only requiring them to take a Covid-19 test upon arrival.
Meanwhile, taking off on 1 April is the travel bubble with Palau, one of 15 countries which officially recognises Taiwan's government.
Under this new travel bubble scheme, Taiwan's China Airlines will operate two weekly flights to Palau with a cap of 110 passengers each way.
Travel for citizens between both destinations, however, is restricted to only in tour groups and for itineraries of up to eight days.
Travellers are also required to adhere by a government-approved schedule which will cover specific tourist zones, approved hotels and transfers in fixed transport vehicles, in order to avoid crowds and intermingling with local residents.
They are not allowed to venture off from these pre-designated tour groups, and must observe social-distancing rules.
Restaurants are also required to have designated dining areas for foreign travellers, with appropriately planned social distancing measures, entry and exit paths.
Taiwanese travellers will be tested for Covid-19 directly at the airport before departure, and will be able to proceed with their trip if they test negative. In addition, locals who wish to enter Palau must submit a clean travel record: no quarantine in the past two months, no Covid-19 diagnosis in the past three months, and no overseas travel in the past six months.
If a confirmed case arises in a travel group, he or she goes straight into quarantine while the rest will still go ahead with sightseeing.
Upon their return, Taiwanese travellers need not go through the standard 14-day quarantine. However, they will need to buy their own coronavirus test, and in the period until the result on the fifth day keep to one person per room, with the exception of travellers who had gone on the same trip.
Meanwhile, Palau travellers entering Taiwan will need to show proof of Covid-19 negative tests, in this case, three days before the trip.