Taipei, Taiwanese living in Italy are not under imminent danger from COVID-19 coronavirus, so there is no need for a government-sponsored evacuation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday.
Taiwan's representative office in Italy was told by Taiwanese that they were inclined to stay in Italy and follow outbreak prevention measures implemented by the local authorities, as the situation there is not desperate, MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (???) said at a regular press conference.
Nevertheless, MOFA is drafting contingency plans to cope with any possible scenarios, she said.
Ou's statement came a day after Jeff Lai (???), chairman of the Taiwanese business association in Milan, called on the Taiwanese government to send charter flights to bring Taiwanese nationals home.
There are about 450 Taiwanese nationals living in Italy, most of them businessmen, their families and students, according to MOFA.
On Monday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the extension of its "red zone" in northern Italy to the entire country, effectively placing the whole of Italy on lockdown.
Ou urged Taiwanese expatriates without urgent need to stay in Italy to consider leaving, as stricter restrictions on personal movement could follow depending on the development of the outbreak.
Despite the current measures, Taiwanese in Italy can still leave by seeking permission from local border control authorities, she said.
MOFA mailed the first batch of face masks to Taiwan's representative offices in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Italy and the Vatican Feb. 22, for the protection of its diplomatic personnel.
Diplomatic personnel and their adult family members will receive three face masks per week, while each of their children will receive five child-size face masks per week, MOFA said in a separate statement.
The measure will soon be expanded to its representative offices in Germany, France and Spain, MOFA said.
MOFA also said its plans for inviting foreign guests to Taiwan are proceeding as scheduled, but necessary adjustments will be made based on recommendations by Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel