TAIPEI (CNA) — A total of 229 Taiwan nationals, previously stranded in China’s Hubei province due to the COVID-19 outbreak, returned to the country on a special flight late Tuesday and were immediately placed in quarantine.
The government-contracted China Airlines (CAL) flight departed Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport around 7:30 p.m. and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 9:11 p.m.
Upon arrival, the 229 Taiwan nationals, 175 adults and 54 children, according to the Border Control Corps, received a health check at a provisional facility at the airport and were sent to a designated quarantine site, where they will serve their two-week quarantine period.
Before the plane took-off from Shanghai, four Taiwanese who were originally scheduled to take the flight were found holding expired travel documents and unable to leave China, according to the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) which arranged the flight.
Ultimately, four nationals and their two children did not board the flight, said the SEF, a semi-official organization that handles cross-strait affairs in the absence of formal bilateral links.
It was the second of two special flights contracted by the SEF this week to bring home Taiwan citizens who were in Hubei province until the lockdown was lifted at the end of March.
The first special flight brought back 231 Taiwanese from Shanghai on Monday night.
The Taiwan nationals had to board the flight in Shanghai because the Taiwanese and Chinese governments have been unable to reach agreement on arrangements for charter flights from Hubei provincial capital Wuhan.
The Chinese province lifted restrictions on outbound travel on March 25, while the lockdown in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic started, was lifted on April 8, according to Chinese authorities.
The two flights this week are the fourth round of evacuations of Taiwan nationals who were stuck in Hubei province.
The first three rounds of evacuations brought back around 1,000 people from China in February and March.