Sick child from Hubei arrives in Taiwan

The Taiwanese minor and his mother arrived in Taiwan on an EVA Airways flight on Feb. 24, 2020. (CNA)
The Taiwanese minor and his mother arrived in Taiwan on an EVA Airways flight on Feb. 24, 2020. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — A Taiwanese child with hemophilia and his mother who had been trapped in coronavirus-stricken Hubei province arrived at Taoyuan International Airport at around 10:45 p.m. Monday on a flight flown by EVA Airways.

The Taiwanese minor and his mother were left stranded in the city of Jingmen, which has been sealed off since Jan. 24 due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, after they were not included on an evacuation flight from nearby Wuhan to Taiwan on Feb. 3.

The child had reportedly run out of hemophilia medication after not being put on the flight, but was helped by a Taiwanese businessman who works in the area.

He traveled 500 kilometers to pick up the medicine in Zhengzhou after it was delivered there from Taiwan and brought it back to the mother of the sick child on Feb. 9.

However, the child ran out of medication again recently, according to Chien Chun-nan (簡俊男), head of the association of Taiwanese businesspeople in Jingmen, who helped with the drug delivery mission.

The child and his mother reportedly drove from Jingmen to Chengdu Airport, leaving Sunday at 11:15 p.m. and arriving there at 10:20 a.m. Monday, to prepare to take the flight home.

EVA Air flies regularly between Taiwan and Chengdu every Monday and Friday, and the flight Monday from China to Taiwan had a total of 46 passengers, including the child and his mother, according to a SET News Channel report.

The flight was treated the same way as the China Eastern charter flight that brought home people from Wuhan on Feb. 3.

All passengers wore face masks during the flight. After arriving at the Taoyuan airport, they will be examined in a provisional facility set up at the airport before being placed in quarantine, according to sources.

Those who display symptoms of the coronavirus will be immediately sent to hospitals while those showing no symptoms will be isolated for 14 days in single rooms at as yet unspecified venues to prevent them from coming into contact with local residents, according to the Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC said that the airline provided protective equipment for the child and his mother on the flight, including isolation gowns, protective headgear, surgical masks and protective goggles.

The Central Epidemic Command Center said Monday that a nurse was dispatched to Chengdu on the outbound flight to help the child and his mother return home, including to examine the child’s condition to be sure he can actually make the trip.

To avoid affecting other passengers, the mother and son were the first to board and the last to disembark and sat in the last row of the Airbus A321, with at least two rows of empty seats directly in front of theirs.

During the flight, the nurse took care of the two persons and they were not provided with meals and not allowed to share public toilets with other passengers.

After arriving at the airport, the two will be sent to a hospital in an ambulance for isolation and testing for the coronavirus.

If they test positive for the virus, they will be placed in quarantine at the hospital, while if they test negative twice, they will be placed in 14-day quarantine at a designated facility.

Amid the coronavirus epidemic in China, Taiwan still allows flights between Taiwan and five Chinese destinations, including Chengdu.

The other four are Beijing, Pudong and Hongqiao airports in Shanghai, and Xiamen.