A second chartered flight, arranged by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Peru, brought 55 Taiwanese and 84 foreign nationals stranded in Peru to Miami yesterday morning Taipei time.
The Peruvian government closed its borders on March 16 due to fears over the spread of COVID-19, leaving more than 100 Taiwanese travelers stuck in the South American country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated the first chartered flight, which evacuated 72 Taiwanese to the US, as well as the second, the passengers of which included 55 Taiwanese, 34 Americans, 29 Japanese, 14 Singaporeans and seven Malaysians.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
As commercial service airports were closed in Peru, the chartered flight took off from a military air base.
As there were nearly 40 chartered airplanes awaiting approval to evacuate travelers, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Peru said that it is grateful that the Peruvian government approved the two flights.
Taiwan was the third country that was allowed to evacuate its citizens from Peru, following the US and Mexico, an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
As Peru is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South America, many foreign nationals were stranded when the nation closed its borders, so when Taiwan’s first chartered flight successfully took off, the ministry received many calls from other countries asking about other evacuation flights, the official said.
“As there were seats left in the second chartered flight, we were happy to cooperate with other countries,” the official said, adding that priority was given to Taiwanese.
The remaining seats were given to travelers from other countries out of humanitarian concern, and to show that “Taiwan can help,” the official added.
Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Chief Representative Hiroyasu Izumi yesterday said that he is grateful for Taiwan’s “brimming friendship” in helping Japanese evacuate safely from Peru.
Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan wrote on Facbook that “we deeply appreciate the assistance of our Taiwanese friends who welcomed our Singaporeans on board their aircraft.”
In other developments, a group of Taiwanese stranded in China’s Hubei Province were scheduled to arrive in Taiwan last night on a special flight operated by China Airlines, which was contracted by the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation.
Another specially contracted China Airlines flight is scheduled to depart from Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 7:50pm today, the foundation said.
China on Thursday eased its restrictions on travel from Hubei, which has been under lockdown for several weeks.
Additional reporting by CNA
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