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Taiwanese stranded in China's Hubei free to return

ROC Central News Agency

05/06/2020 05:07 PM

Taipei, May 6 (CNA) Taiwanese nationals still stranded in the Chinese province of Hubei due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions will be free to return home on commercial flights from Friday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.

They will, however, have to spend a mandatory 14-day quarantine in designated facilities, as opposed to being able to stay at home or in quarantine hotels like citizens and residents returning from other places, the CECC said.

The decision was made based on the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, the CECC said.

Taiwanese nationals in Hubei Province and its capital, Wuhan -- the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak -- found themselves stranded there in late January, after the province was sealed off to prevent further spread of the disease.

During the lockdown, the Taiwanese government arranged two rounds of charter flights, which evacuated 608 Taiwanese from the region, one of whom later tested positive for COVID-19.

On March 25, the province lifted its travel restrictions, with Wuhan following suit two weeks later, although Taiwanese nationals there were unable to board commercial flights home, due to being placed on a "travel blacklist."

They could only board certain government-designated flights, described as "charter-like" flights, to return to Taiwan, and had to make their own way to Pudong International Airport in Shanghai to do so.

Two rounds of such flights in late March and late April brought home 827 Taiwanese.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Chiang Yi-ching)

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