The Straits Exchange Foundation yesterday announced a third set of flights to evacuate 440 Taiwanese from China’s Hubei Province due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The flights, operated by China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) according to its normal schedule, are on Sunday and Monday next week.
They are to depart Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 7:50pm and arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 9:50pm, the foundation said.
China Airlines is to dispatch two Boeing 777.
The aircraft has a capacity of 358 passengers, but each would only carry 220 to ensure a proper distance is maintained between those onboard, it said.
Within hours of the foundation starting to accept requests to book seats on the two flights, they had been overbooked, Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) said.
As in the two previous rounds of evacuations — which used charter flights — all passengers would be required to wear a mask and protective clothing, he said.
Prior to boarding, passengers would have their temperature checked by medical personnel, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei.
After arriving in Taiwan, they would be sent to a designated quarantine facility for 14 days and tested for COVID-19 within 48 hours, he said.
As there are at least 1,000 Taiwanese stranded in Hubei, the Ministry of the Interior would decide whether to employ more regular flights to repatriate them after reviewing the efficacy of the model, Chen said.
Taiwanese who have been in Hubei since the pandemic started would not be allowed to book flights home on their own, he said.
Asked whether the Chinese spouses and children of Taiwanese would be excluded from the flights as they were in the previous evacuations, Chen said that had not yet been decided.
Chen said that with the exception of Wuhan, the lockdown of Hubei Province has been lifted, but he did not give any recommendations on how people in the province should travel to Shanghai to take the flights.
The upcoming flights are the result of intensive discussions, presided over by Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), on Tuesday and Wednesday between officials from the foundation, the CDC, the Mainland Affairs Council, the National Security Council and the Civil Aeronautics Administration, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said.
Asked whether Taiwan would send direct flights to Wuhan, the original epicenter of the outbreak, to evacuate Taiwanese, Kolas said that the government would determine which model would best accomplish its overarching goal of meeting the high disease-prevention standards of the “Taiwan model,” as well as which method is most efficient.
The foundation and the Mainland Affairs Council would continue negotiating with Chinese authorities over any future flights, she added.
Additional reporting by Chung Li-hua
COMMITMENT: The world’s biggest contract chipmaker said that its new 2nm chips, as well as next-generation, cutting-edge 1.4nm chips, will be produced in Taiwan Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday said that the majority of its most advanced chips would continue to be manufactured in Taiwan and that it is boosting advanced chip packaging capacity to catch up with fast-growing demand driven by generative artificial intelligence (AI) applications like ChatGPT. Deeply rooted in Taiwan, TSMC is expanding production capacity for its most advanced 3-nanometer (nm) chips at its Tainan fab and is building new plants to produce new 2-nanometer chips in Hsinchu and Taichung in 2025. The chipmaker also plans to produce next-generation, cutting-edge 1.4-nanometer chips, which are currently under development, at home, it
PASSAGE DISPUTE: A US and Canadian transit was a provocation and an attempt to ‘exercise hegemony of navigation,’ China’s defense ministry told a forum in Singapore The Ministry of National Defense yesterday urged the Chinese Communist Party to avoid provocative behavior after a Chinese navy ship crossed the paths of a US destroyer and Canadian frigate transiting the Taiwan Strait. A Chinese ship on Saturday “executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner in the vicinity of [the USS] Chung-Hoon,” an American destroyer, the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement. The vessel “overtook Chung-Hoon on their port side and crossed their bow at 150 yards [137m]. Chung-Hoon maintained course and slowed to 10 [knots, 18.5kph] to avoid a collision,” the statement said. It then “crossed Chung-Hoon’s bow a second time
HARD-WON FREEDOM: Beijing’s 1989 crackdown on protesters has not been and should not be forgotten, as China tightens its grip on Hong Kong, Lai said Taiwanese enjoy democracy and freedom and have multiple ways to express their creativity, and hopefully young people in China would also one day have the freedom to sing and express themselves, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s bloody crackdown on student-led protests in Beijing in 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident. Tsai posted a photograph taken in March in a subway station in Guizhou, China, where hundreds of young people gathered to sing People With No Ideals Don’t Get Hurt (沒有理想的人不傷心), saying that they
GUILTY AS CHARGED: Chen Hsueh-sheng repeatedly pressed his belly against a DPP lawmaker and made derogatory remarks when confronted over his behavior The Taipei District Court yesterday upheld a verdict against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chen Hsueh-sheng (陳雪生), finding him liable for sexually harassing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Fan Yun (范雲) during a physical altercation on the legislative floor in 2020. The DPP lawmaker accused Chen of pressing his belly against her back three times in a sexually suggestive manner during a scuffle between lawmakers from both parties. Chen must pay Fan NT$80,000 in damages as stipulated by a summary ruling of the district court at the first trial, the court said in a news release. The verdict is final as the