CORONAVIRUS/240 Vietnamese repatriated from Taiwan on second charter flight

07/07/2020 06:58 PM
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The Vietnamese passengers wear protective gowns before boarding the flight. CNA photo July 7, 2020
The Vietnamese passengers wear protective gowns before boarding the flight. CNA photo July 7, 2020

Taoyuan, July 7 (CNA) The Vietnamese government on Tuesday repatriated 240 citizens stranded in Taiwan due to the COVID-19 pandemic on a government-contracted charter flight, the second such flight for Vietnamese nationals since the coronavirus outbreak.

The VietJet Air flight arrived at Taoyuan International Airport at 11:25 a.m., carrying 70 Taiwanese, their Vietnamese spouses and children.

At 1:55 p.m. the return flight departed for Ho Chi Minh City, with 240 Vietnamese nationals on board, including 159 migrant workers, 105 of whom were pregnant.

Other passengers on the flight included 41 students, 12 travelers and 28 individuals who visited the country to see family members, according to VietJet Air's agent in Taiwan, Far East International Tourism Group.

Before departure, a Vietnamese migrant worker told CNA that he had worked in Taiwan for nine years, but his work visa expired in April.

He was supposed to return to Vietnam for work but was forced to stay in Taiwan for an extra three months after the Vietnamese government suspend international flights in late March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A female Vietnamese migrant worker told CNA that she is six-months pregnant and has been waiting to return to her home country since March because it is too expensive to give birth in Taiwan without health insurance.

Meanwhile, her husband who is also a migrant worker in Taiwan, is staying to work and support the family.

Far East International Tourism Group said the one-way flight cost NT$11,700 (US$ 392.3) per passenger, with one piece of checked luggage up to 20 kilograms in weight permitted.

Passengers are given a surgical face mask and a protective suit in the waiting room that have to be worn for the duration of the flight, according to the group.

Currently there are still more than 1,000 Vietnamese nationals stranded in Taiwan on a waiting list to return to Vietnam, the group said.

Taiwan has more than 210,000 Vietnamese migrant workers, making the Southeast Asian country the second largest source of migrant workers in the country after Indonesia.

A previous charter flight on May 29, repatriated 344 Vietnamese stranded in Taiwan due to the COVID-19.

(By Wu Jui-chi and Joseph Yeh)

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