TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — A charter flight carrying 19 Taiwanese from the virus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship plus one doctor who was sent to Japan following the outbreak landed just shy of 10 p.m. Friday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA, 外交部) thanked the Japanese government for coordinating with Taiwanese officials and taking care of the five nationals tested positive for the novel coronavirus still hospitalized in Yokohama.
A press conference detailing the flight and the health conditions of the repatriated is slated at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Flight CI7550 operated by China Airlines took off at approximately 1 p.m. from Taoyuan International Airport, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心).
Taking into account those with dual-nationalities, there were previously a total of 27 Taiwanese on board the ship, Political Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Ho Chi-kung (何啟功) said.
Among them, five tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and will not return home until after they recover.
Another two are currently under quarantine, as they have been in close contact with the confirmed cases. Their test results are pending.
One person with dual-nationality has left for Hong Kong, Ho said, and will be required to undergo a 14-days mandated quarantine should that person return to Taiwan afterward.
Fourteen ambulance vehicles will bring the evacuees to a hospital immediately upon arrival, Ho said, where they will be tested for the virus.
Those who test negative will then be transported to isolated quarantine sites for another 14 days.
To date, at least 621 people tested positive for the virus on the ship, making it the biggest infection cluster outside China.