😷 COVID - Traveling during Covid-19

Good to know they’re not using brain probes at the airport. Someone must have figured out that it’s unlawful (international travel rules forbid invasive tests as a condition for entry).

Let us know how you get on in solitary!

Ha! :slight_smile:
I am staying at Hedo hotel in Ximen. The room is tiny but has a big window that I can open. The view is quite nice.

It is only my 2nd full day but so far so good. Still feeling overwhelmingly happy to be back in Taiwan but I am sure it will wear down as the days go by.

Keeping active and trying to do a lot of exercise at the hotel room. Yesterday’s stats:

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:muscle: :muscle: :v:

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7km in a hotel room, impressive…
:clap:

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Just got this email.

Health Alert – American Institute in Taiwan (04 December 2021)

Location: Worldwide

Event: On December 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will implement a one-day COVID-19 testing requirement for travelers over age two coming to the United States. Regardless of vaccination status or nationality, any individual coming to the United States must show a negative pre-departure COVID-19 viral test taken the day before they board their flight to the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight.

If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country, and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).

These requirements are for all air passengers two years of age or older boarding a flight to the United States.

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Is a viral Covid test the kind you can buy at a convenience store and get the results right away? I’m guessing that must be the case because getting a PCR test with results one day before a flight is expensive.

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PCR testing costs have come down from the TWD7500 or whatever was being mentioned 6 months back.
Far East Hospital is one example $4500 for same day results, $3500 for next day. So $4500 for the USA requirement if they want it no more than 24 hours old.

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The US has never required PCR testing for entry. Rapid tests are fine.

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There is a new 24 hour PCR requirement due to this new virus if I’m not mistaken. Hopefully it will be short lived.

Rapid tests are still valid: Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19 | CDC

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I have to say after reading the link that I’m not clear. There’s a lot of double talk on that site.

“Rapid tests are acceptable if they are a viral test that meet the requirements under the Order.”

“You must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Examples of available NAATs for SARS-CoV-2 include but are not restricted to reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), transcription-mediated amplification (TMA), nicking enzyme amplification reaction (NEAR), and helicase-dependent amplification (HDA). The test used must be authorized for use by the relevant national authority for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the country where the test is administered.”

What kind of test did you get for your travel and where?

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Rapid antigen test at Adventist for $1200. Accepted by Asiana for transit through Korea and arrival in the US.

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Guys what’s the latest regarding quarantine hotels? Where can I book them? I’m thinking about going back to UK for xmas.

Is it just one week quarantine in a hotel now and one week at home?

Thank you. This is great information.

Anybody tried transiting in Singapore lately? I’m wondering if flights to Europe are being cancelled, or if things are operating smoothly. Any details would be appreciated.

Guy

Last week I took the first China Airlines flight from Taiwan to UK since the route was stopped earlier this year. This was also after the new UK rules came in requiring a PCR test on arrival (which from this week now has an additional requirement of a PCR test before the flight as well).

Check in at Taoyuan was quiet. No one else at all at the CI check in desk. I got there about an 1h40m before the scheduled take off time. I had already done online check in, but the staff member needed to check the UK passenger locator form and my vaccine certificate. Also they offered to move my seat further away from other passengers as there was so much free space on the plane. There seemed a lot more typing needed on the computer terminal, compared to before.

The slowest part was at the security scan before immigration. There were many people going on flights to Philippines with a lot of carry on baggage. And they all seemed to “forget” to remove water bottles, electrical devices etc from their various bags. So some delays with people need to unpack and re-scan.

Immigration was fairly quick. E-gate wasn’t open and everyone is goes to the same 3 or 4 counters, resident or not (though I guess there wouldn’t be many or any non-residents traveling from TW now?).

The CI lounge only had one other passenger. They did offer breakfast if you wished, by showing a menu with picture of the main option and some alternatives (chinese, western, japanese style). No buffet.

The flight itself was pretty empty and uneventful. I think only around 30 people on the whole plane. It’s a day flight, and the 14 hours did drag somewhat.

Arrival at Heathrow was quite smooth. The flight lands around 3.30pm at T2. There is LOTS of walking to get to immigration.

Immigration was quick - if you have a passport that can use e-gate. If your passport is not eligible for e-gate (i.e. not UK or EU), then the news isn’t so great. The queue for manual checking was massive and I heard several people saying they were waiting over 4 hours to get through it.

Luggage collection was quick, then through the customs doors and out into the land of the maskless :cold_sweat:

I had booked a PCR swab to be taken at the T2 on-site test centre which is at Level 0 in T2 arrivals. It’s not very clear how to get to Level 0 (and I couldn’t even find an indication saying which level I was currently on, and there were no staff at all on the information desk). I ended up asking a cleaner. Basically you need to go out of the arrivals hall doors and cross over a suspended walkway to the lifts and go down a level.

Exiting the lift, you should see a signs for the temporary-looking test site. There was a short queue and once you’re in the test place it just takes a couple of minutes. The swab is briefly rubbed around inside your mouth and nose. Oddly it doesn’t go deep at all, maybe 2cms at most.

Having the test done at the airport is the fastest way to get the results. I strongly advise booking a time slot as early as possible when you know your flight details. The slots fill up quickly: https://www.expresstest.co.uk/

If you can’t get a slot at the walk-in clinic, then the alternative is to book a home test kit to be sent to your UK address. It needs to arrive before the 2nd day after your arrival. The testing companies will normally ship it out on the day you travel so it should arrive at your address soon after you do.

With the home test, you need to do the swab yourself and then send it back by post. The problem with this is that you must isolate at home (or at your hotel) until you get the negative result back, so by adding the extra time for postage means you could be stuck isolating for a few days (and according to the rules you are not even supposed to go out to buy food). I’m not sure how much checking they do on this, but you have to put the serial number of the test you ordered on your passenger locator form, together with quite detailed information about where you’ll be staying during your first 10 days, mobile number etc, so in theory they could track you down.

Because I did the walk-in test at Heathrow, the result would be emailed to me by 10pm the following day. In the end it arrived at just after 5pm.

Being back in the UK, it is really quite disconcerting seeing so many people wandering around without masks, even in shops and enclosed spaces. There’s virtually no social distancing either. Many people don’t seem to care about whether they might be spreading the virus around or potentially catching it themselves. Well, it explains why new case rates are persistently high here.

Also the quality of the masks used by the few people actually wearing them is pretty poor. There don’t seem to be many wearing the medical 3-layer type commonly used in Taiwan. Lots of cloth masks or repurposed cycling masks.

For the first few times going into shops here, I did find myself reaching for my phone to scan the QR code :sweat_smile:
There are a (very) few shops which do actually have QR codes posted at the entrance for NHS test and trace, but no one takes any notice of them.

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There is a rapid PCR test that the US accepts that is administered at the hospital and is much cheaper for those of us going to the states like myself. At the hospital in Kaohsiung it’s only 900 NTD, 1100 if you want an English copy as well (which I’m getting to be safe). One of those get in the morning and get your results in the afternoon types.

If you’re a Taipei person my wife said you can get them at the hospital for 600NTD (without English copy).

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Which Kaohsiung hospital? Kaohsiung Medical University?

Just Tatung 大同 general hospital.

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Philippines will remove quarantine requirements

  • for returning Filipinos from February 1
  • and for foreign tourists from February 10
  • but they must be vaccinated and test negative for Covid-19.
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I paid NT$450 for a rapid antigen test. The report is in both Chinese and English, which is sufficient for flying to the US:

Yu-Ming Clinic
No. 537號, Minzu 1st Rd, Sanmin District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 807

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