Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday experienced an influx of Taiwanese returning from Europe and the US, many of whom said they had returned despite higher ticket prices as they are concerned about family members amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between 5am and 7am yesterday, 17 flights landed at the airport carrying 2,400 passengers, many of them from Australia and the US, Taoyuan International Airport Corp data showed.
The attire of some of the arriving passengers — masks, goggles and some with full biohazard suits — demonstrated the severity of the pandemic in the nations in which they originated, the airport company said.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
A returning Taiwanese student from the US said that he had returned due to his family’s concern about the US government’s handling of the pandemic and the relative safety of Taiwan.
Another student, surnamed Lin (林), said that the airfare had doubled to NT$40,000, but he felt much safer in Taiwan and his studies would not suffer, as his courses have mostly been moved online.
A student returning from San Francisco surnamed Huang (黃) said that she had purchased a biohazard suit and would not take it off until she had left the airport.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
In related news, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said that the government is looking into measures that would allow parents to send masks to their children abroad, but added that they are not yet ready for implementation.
Su was responding to a query about the matter from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wen Yu-hsia (溫玉霞) at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
“Perhaps parents could send masks to the nation’s representative offices,” Wen said.
While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is providing its overseas staff and their dependents with masks, it would be difficult for representative offices to dispense masks to Taiwanese students or tourists, Su said.
The difficulties are twofold, as restricted supply makes it questionable whether the government would be able to provide a steady supply of masks to overseas offices, while the size of the nation could also reduce accessibility, Su said.
Taiwanese would be able to purchase masks to mail to relatives overseas, but the policy is still in the planning phase, he said.
While daily production of masks has exceeded 10 million, some must be prioritized for medical personnel and those who must frequent hospitals, as well as police officers and transport workers, he added.
Additional reporting by Huang Hsin-po
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