CORONAVIRUS/344 Vietnamese in Taiwan repatriated on government charter flight
Taipei, May 29 (CNA) The Vietnam government repatriated 344 citizens on a charter flight from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Friday and also helped facilitate the return of some Taiwanese who had been stranded in Vietnam due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), it was the first repatriation of Vietnamese from Taiwan since Vietnam suspended all incoming international air travel on March 22.
The Vietnam Airlines flight arrived at the Taoyuan airport at 11:40 a.m., carrying a number of Taiwanese citizens and Vietnamese who hold Taiwan residency permits.
After refueling, it took off at 2:30 p.m. for Ho Chi Minh City with 344 Vietnamese on board, on a flight chartered by the Vietnam government.
Before boarding, the passengers were provided with masks and protective gowns and had their temperatures checked, a Vietnam Airlines staff member said.
One of the Vietnamese passengers told CNA that she wanted to return home because she was expecting a baby and had no health insurance in Taiwan.
Another passenger, a migrant worker who had been in Taiwan for three years, said she was thankful the Vietnamese authorities had arranged the flight, as her work permit had recently expired.
Meanwhile, among the returning Taiwanese, a businessman from Kaohsiung told CNA he had been in Vietnam since February and had been worried about the risks of flying after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.
Several others who returned to Taiwan on the flight said the mood in Vietnam was similar to Taiwan, with the public keeping a close eye on the daily number of new cases reported.
To date, Vietnam has reported 327 confirmed infections and zero deaths from COVID-19, with 272 patients having recovered.
Taiwan, meanwhile, has confirmed 442 COVID-19 cases, seven deaths, and 420 recoveries.
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