153 Taiwanese from Wuhan released from quarantine

TAIPEI (CNA) — A total of 153 Taiwan nationals evacuated from Hubei Province, the coronavirus epicenter in China, in late March completed their 14-day quarantine Monday morning.

The 153 Taiwanese who had been stuck in Hubei due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic returned home March 29 on a special flight and were quarantined in a facility in Linkou on the border of New Taipei and Taoyuan.

It was the first of two special flights contracted by the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) to bring home Taiwan citizens from the Chinese province, where restrictions on outbound travel were lifted March 26 after several weeks of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the evacuees left the quarantine center, they had their temperature taken and were disinfected with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

At about 6 a.m. Monday, the evacuees began leaving the quarantine facility, with some picked up by their families and others being taken to high speed rail stations or Taoyuan airport MRT station by shuttle buses.

“I feel very relieved,” one of the evacuees, a man surnamed Wu, who bought a home in Hubei, told CNA, adding that he accompanied his wife to visit her relatives in mainland China on Jan. 15 and never imagined he would be there for nearly three months.

Wu said he spent nearly 1,500 Chinese yuan (US$212.92) hiring a private car service in addition to the special flight ticket, adding that it cost much more than a charter flight.

According to Wu, he was quarantined for more than 70 days in China before being placed in 14-day quarantine in Taiwan. He said the food provided by the quarantine center in Taiwan was quite good and thanked medical staff for taking good care of him.

Wu said he and his family were in a hurry to return to Taiwan because his son is going to take the senior high school entrance exam.

Wu’s son said he plans to return to school Tuesday.