Taiwan on Monday said it would temporarily halt the import of Indonesian migrant workers after detecting a surge of coronavirus cases among arrivals from the country.
Of the 24 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Taiwan on Monday, all of which were found among new arrivals to the island, 20 patients were Indonesian migrant workers under quarantine.
The other four patients were Taiwanese nationals returning from the United States, Britain and the Philippines, the Central Epidemic Command Centre said.
Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung told a televised news conference “we’re very concerned about Indonesia’s handling of the pandemic. Therefore, we have no choice but to stop accepting Indonesian migrant workers for a while.’’
Chen said the suspension would last for two weeks from Dec. 4 to Dec. 17, after which time the number of inbound Indonesian migrant workers would be halved to 339 a week.
According to him, Taiwan expects that the two-week suspension may affect around 1,350 Indonesian migrant workers. In November an average of 677 Indonesian workers arrived in Taiwan every week.
Chen said the new measures were set to reduce the risk of community spread of the virus in Taiwan as a number of Indonesian migrant workers assist vulnerable or disabled people as caregivers.
Taiwan’s Labour Ministry says that since March 17, a total of 7,279 Indonesian migrant workers entered Taiwan, including 5,437 caregivers and 1,842 people in different industries.
Taiwan has reported 675 coronavirus cases since the onset of the pandemic, with seven virus-related deaths.