Rules of Passenger Quarantine in International

Jau-Hwa Chen

2008 Vol.24 NO.8

Correspondence Author: Jau-Hwa Chen


In modern democratic countries, freedom to travel is one of the basic rights of the people. Only with due reason can the country limit people’s freedom of travel through legislation, both nationally and internationally. Recently, international traffic is more convenient, and passengers and goods travel rapidly. Thus, if a disease outbreak occurs without proper and immediate control, the disease may spread with the goods and passengers, causing an interregional or worldwide epidemic. For this reason, the World Health Organization (WHO) amended the “International Sanitary Regulations” (ISR) in 1969 and changed its name to the “International Health Regulations” (IHR), as well as directed its focus on international integration of disease control to prevent the spread of disease. In 2005, World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the newly amended IHR and made this multilateral treaty open to members. IHR (2005) became effective on June 15, 2007. Highlights of this amendment include: (1) to adopt a standard guideline that assists competent authorities in determining if they are facing a “Public Health Emergency of International Concerns” (PHEIC) to avoid a gap in epidemic control during the spread of an unknown disease, excluding the traditional enumeration of diseases which shall be notified; and (2) to loosen restrictions for the State Party in limiting people’s freedom during emergencies, but also to promote the protection of human rights.
This article reviews the rules of passenger quarantine in IHR (2005), which may be applied to Taiwan by amending the Communicable Disease Control Act of Taiwan. Included are fictional examples to illustrate the measures taken for passengers departing from countries with wide-spread communicable diseases. While the quarantine of goods, animals and plants are imperative, this article focuses solely on the regulations over passengers.
Keywords:International Health Regulations, quarantine, disease control