153 Taiwanese return from Hubei, placed in quarantine

03/30/2020 11:53 AM
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Taipei, March 30 (CNA) A total of 153 Taiwanese nationals who had been stuck in China's Hubei Province due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic returned to Taiwan late Sunday on a special flight and are now in quarantine, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The evacuees arrived at Taoyuan International Airport at 10:20 p.m. on a government-contracted China Airlines (CAL) flight that departed Shanghai's Pudong International Airport at 8:58 p.m.

Upon arrival in Taiwan, the 153 Taiwanese were given a health check at a provisional facility at the airport then transported directly to a designated quarantine site in northern Taiwan, where they will remain for 14 days.

According to Taiwan's Border Affairs Corps, 159 Taiwanese in Hubei had reserved seats on the flight, but some of them failed to make it to Shanghai in time, while a few others were not allowed to board because their travel documents had expired.

It was the first of two special flights contracted by the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) to bring home Taiwan citizens in the Chinese province, where restrictions on outbound travel were lifted last Thursday after several weeks of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second flight is scheduled to depart Monday afternoon, and Taiwanese in Hubei who have reserved seats are required to make their own way to Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, which is the departure point.

The arrangement was made by the SEF, a semi-official intermediate organization that handles cross-Taiwan Strait affairs in the absence of formal bilateral links.

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei and the city where the pandemic started, will remain under lockdown until April 8, according to Chinese authorities.

(By Wang Hung-kuo, Wu Jui-chi and Ko Lin)

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