TAIPEI (CNA) — 55 Taiwanese tourists flew from Peru to the United States on a private chartered jet Sunday, the second group of Taiwanese nationals to do so since the South American country closed its borders due to fears over the COVID-19 coronavirus disease.
The passengers landed at Miami International Airport at 10 a.m. Sunday, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and will now be free to decide whether to return to Taiwan.
The flight, chartered by LATAM Airlines, departed from Cusco, a southeastern city in Peru, with 38 Taiwanese on board, then flew to the capital, Lima, to pick up an additional 17 Taiwanese nationals, said MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安).
Also on the flight were another 84 passengers of four different nationalities — Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and the U.S. — bringing the total number of passengers to 139, Ou said.
The flight was organized by Taiwan’s representative office in Peru, which contacted relevant authorities there and cooperated with other embassies to receive permission for the charter, Ou said.
Payment of the fares was made by the passengers themselves, she said.
On a previous charter flight, 72 Taiwanese tourists left Peru for the U.S. on March 20.
After these two flights, 22 Taiwanese tourists still remain in Peru, many of whom have decided to stay because they have family and friends in the country, according to MOFA.
MOFA officials will continue to keep in contact with them and provide them with necessary assistance, Ou said.
Peru has closed its land, sea, and air borders since March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a policy that is scheduled to last until April 12.
Meanwhile, Japan’s representative to Taiwan Hiroyasu Izumi (泉裕泰) thanked Taiwan for assisting the Japanese nationals in leaving Peru on the charter flight.
“On the 29th, a number of Japanese tourists were able to safely leave Peru on a charter flight organized by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Peru,” Izumi said in a Facebook post.
“I sincerely thank Taiwan,” he said.
Around 30 Japanese tourists boarded the charter flight, according to Japan’s embassy in Peru.