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One of 229 returnees from Hubei shows abnormal symptoms

ROC Central News Agency

04/22/2020 11:59 AM

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) One of the 229 Taiwanese nationals who returned to Taiwan on Tuesday night after being stranded in Hubei province by the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak showed abnormal conditions and was taken to the hospital.

The individual was taken away in an ambulance at around 11:05 p.m. after undergoing a health screening at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport upon arrival that detected health issues.

A quarantine worker at the airport would not confirm, however, if the passenger was running a fever, saying that details will be provided by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The 229 passengers, 175 adults and 54 children, arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport from Shanghai at 9:11 p.m. on a government-contracted China Airlines (CAL) flight, Taiwan's Border Affairs Corps said.

After the health checks, the 228 who did not have any issues were taken by tour buses to two undisclosed quarantine facilities in northern Taiwan at 0:25 a.m. Wednesday to undergo the standard 14-day quarantines that all arrivals in Taiwan are subject to.

All returnees will be tested for COVID-19 within 48 hours, according to the CECC's past practices.

It was the second of two special flights contracted by the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (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. Two of them were hospitalized after showing potential symptoms of the disease. They both tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The Taiwanese nationals had been stuck in Hubei province and its capital of Wuhan -- the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak -- since Wuhan was sealed off on Jan. 23 and much of Hubei province was locked down a few days later.

Because of disagreements between Taiwan and China, only three charter flights were organized to evacuate Taiwanese nationals from the area before the province lifted restrictions on outbound travel on March 25, and Wuhan lifted its lockdown on April 8.

The first charter flight from Wuhan to Taiwan was on Feb. 3, evacuating 247 people, and the other two were on March 10 and March 11, bringing home another 361 people.

After that, government-contracted flights were arranged. The first two flights, also leaving from Shanghai, were made on March 29 and March 30, bringing 367 people home.

(By Wu Jui-chi, Sunrise Huang and Evelyn Kao)

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