People returning from India say Taiwan is a safer place amid pandemic

At the Delhi airport Monday.(CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Some of the 129 passengers who returned to Taiwan on a special chartered flight from India on Tuesday said they had made that choice for safety reasons amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The 114 returning Taiwanese citizens, and 15 foreign nationals were placed in quarantine at two locations after they arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on a special China Airlines (CAL) flight from Delhi at 2:50 a.m. Tuesday.

Some of them had been waiting a month for a chance to return to Taiwan, according to a member of the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh, one of 28 passengers who traveled by chartered flight from Bangladesh to Delhi to catch the CAL flight home.

Also on the CAL flight was Shail Shakunt of India, whose Taiwanese wife and newborn twins are in Taiwan.

Shakunt said he had traveled 23 hours from the state of Gujarat to Delhi and that Taiwan’s representative office in India had issued him a visa so he could return to his wife and children.

Meanwhile, Indian businessman Prabhat Ranjan told CNA at the Delhi airport on Monday that he brought his Taiwanese wife and their son to take the CAL flight to Taiwan, a place he said is safer because of its effective control of the COVID-19 disease.

Russian Dmitry Khuzami, who is a resident of Taiwan, said he had been stranded in India during a holiday because of the lockdown measures against COVID-19 and was happy to be returning to a safe place that has gained recognition around the world for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the Taiwanese passengers, four of them were forced to resign their jobs at a company in Gujarat so they could return home, according to one employee.

On Monday, Taiwan’s representative to India Tien Chung-kwang (田中光) said in Delhi that some 60 Taiwanese nationals could not catch the CAL charter because they were unable to travel from other parts of the country to the capital.

Tien said his office will continue its efforts to help Taiwanese nationals in India and the Maldives to return home.

On April 29, some 30 Taiwanese nationals who were stranded in India returned to Taiwan via South Korea, after taking a special South Korean flight from the sub-continent.