Covid-19 Home Quarantine: New York City versus Taipei

Originally posted on September 07, 2020 2:11 am
Updated on September 07, 2020 9:26 am

Currently, both New York City and Taipei have 14-day quarantine mandates in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Home Quarantine In New York

Individuals arriving in NYC from a list of 30 high-risk states, or from abroad, must stay at home in isolation. Unfortunately, NY Times reports the enforcement is rather lax. People who receive the quarantine paperwork after arriving in Manhattan can freely go to parties, parks, and other social events with seemingly no restrictions.

Home Quarantine In Taipei

There are two ways to quarantine after arriving in Taiwan. Individuals can stay in government subsidized quarantine hotels, which range from budget hostels all the way to luxury 5-star hotels. The option has become so popular that there are online spreadsheets detailing availability, and calls to widen the program to all hotels. There are plenty of great blogs and vlogs documenting this process – plenty of folks break up the hotel room boredom by spinning up youtube channels.

The other method is the home quarantine, which will be our focus.

Day 0: Airport Arrival

Prior to your flight, you should fill out an online form detailing where you will be staying during your quarantine, complete with your passport info and cell phone. Once you land, your phone receives a text message linking to your completed home quarantine document. You show your phone at various airport checkpoints and local CDC officials near your “home” receive a copy of the document.

Gotchas: No Local Sim? Did Not Complete Form? No Problem

In case you didn’t properly research the process, you are still ok! You can fill out an electronic or paper home quarantine form upon arrival. The amount of airport / CDC staff to passenger ratio is quite good – plenty of people who can offer help in English or Mandarin.

For those without local phone numbers, the CDC has partnered with cell phone companies to sell you a subsidized data and phone plan: 30-days of unlimited data and 7 hours of voice calling for $35. The booth to buy these sims are conveniently placed in the pre-immigration area.

For those coming from the US, we recommend bringing two phones and carrying both. Your primary phone which will retain your US phone number – and a secondary phone to utilize your new Taiwan SIM card. That way, you will still receive calls and texts to your primary phone and old number, but CDC can call you and track your GPS on the second phone. You will also use the second phone to make local calls, use data such as Google Maps, and enable hotspot mode for your primary phone.

Quarantine Taxi And Getting Home

Normally, freedom begins once you clear customs. However, after you retrieve your luggage, they direct you to the subsidized quarantine taxis. Some choose to have family pick them up, which is allowed (5am for the JFK-TPE flight!).

The government subsidizes taxi rides and quarantine buses so that residents can quickly and safely arrive at home. For Taipei residents, the cap is $35 from the airport, a modest savings over what is normally about $50 depending on your location. However, the subsidy is substantial if you live in the eastern or southern parts of the country.

You don’t need to do anything to get the subsidy, the driver will take care of all that paperwork once you sign some form. The driver is also pretty concerned for his or her own safety, and will spray you once more from head to toe.

Home Free – For Now

By the time you are home (or at your Airbnb, until Sept 22nd), it’s time to download Uber Eats and Food Panda – two critically useful apps to help stock up on supplies, groceries, and food during the quarantine. It’s also a good time to get some rest – things will seem surprisingly quiet for the first day.

That’s because the official quarantine and fun begins on Day 1 through Day 14 (more on that later). Your arrival date is simply Day 0, therefore expect to stay 15 nights in your quarantine accommodations.

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