Taiwanese who had been stuck in China’s Hubei Province due to the COVID-19 pandemic returned to Taiwan late on Sunday on a special flight and are now in quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center said.
The 153 evacuees arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 10:20pm on a government-
contracted China Airlines flight that departed from Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 8:58pm, the center said.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, yesterday said that the flight was delayed slightly, but the screening procedures conducted after the passengers disembarked went relatively smoothly, taking only about 1.5 hours.
They were taken to a quarantine center to begin 14 days of mandatory isolation, Chen said.
After the passengers were settled at the quarantine center, Taoyuan General Hospital deputy superintendent Chen Ri-chang (陳日昌) and six physicians went to their rooms to perform COVID-19 swab tests, with the procedures completed early yesterday morning, Chen said.
The specimens were sent to ministry’s lab in Taipei and tested immediately, he said, adding that although three specimens were flawed and more were taken, the results of the other 150 people were negative for COVID-19.
Taiwan’s Border Affairs Corps said that 159 Taiwanese in Hubei had reserved seats on the flight, but some of them failed to make it to Shanghai in time, while a few others were not allowed to board because their travel documents had expired.
It was the first of two special flights contracted by the Straits Exchange Foundation to bring home Taiwanese in the Chinese province, where restrictions on outbound travel were lifted on Thursday last week after several weeks of lockdown due to the pandemic.
The second flight was scheduled to depart yesterday afternoon, with those with reservations required to make their own way to Shanghai.
In other news, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday said that Taiwan had planned to donate 10,000 protective gowns to China, delivering them on an Eastern Airlines charter flight, but the plan fell through when the airline did not have enough time to make the necessary preparations.
The flight was the first evacuation of Taiwanese from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus emerged, bringing back people who were stranded there after the city was sealed off.
The Eastern Airlines flight arrived in Taiwan on Feb. 3 and Taipei had intended for the 10,000 protective gowns to be placed on the plane for its return to China, MAC Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said.
However the airline felt “it did not have time to undergo the necessary procedures” and so declined the gowns, he said.
The issue has not been raised again during the two sides’ discussions on additional charter flights, as there have been many other matters to deal with, he said.
Additional reporting by Lee I-chia
Netflix on Wednesday said it is to charge NT$100 more per month for each user that is not part of the same household. Under the plan, the streaming service is to limit viewership to people who live in the same household. If a member wishes to add people outside of their address, they must pay NT$100 more per person every month. No additional viewers can be added to the NT$270 per month “basic” account. “Standard” accounts (NT$330) can add one user, while “premium” (NT$390) accounts can add two users. The company has said that people in the same household would still be able
A Keelung high school on Saturday night apologized for using a picture containing a Chinese flag on the cover of the senior yearbook, adding that it has recalled the books and pledged to provide students new ones before graduation on Thursday. Of 309 Affiliated Keelung Maritime Senior High School of National Taiwan Ocean University graduates, 248 had purchased the yearbook. Some students said that the printer committed an outrageous error in including the picture, while others said that nobody would notice such a small flag on the cover. Other students said that they cared more about the photographs of classmates and what was
PRESSURE POINT: Beijing might seek to lean on Musk to prevent his SpaceX from providing Taiwan access to its Starlink satellite system, ‘The Economist’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) called out Elon Musk on Twitter, saying the value of democracy transcends that of money after the Tesla CEO said that China was likely to “integrate” Taiwan. Asked in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday last week if “China would make a move to take control of Taiwan,” Musk said that “the official policy of China is that Taiwan should be integrated... One does not need to read between the lines.” “There is a certain inevitability to the situation,” he added. “That is their policy, and I think you should take their word seriously,” Musk said. Regarding
WAY OF THE RUKAI: ‘Values deemed worthy often exist amid discomfort, so when people go against the flow, nature becomes entwined with our lives,’ a student said “Run, don’t walk” after your dreams, Nvidia cofounder and chief executive officer Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) told National Taiwan University (NTU) graduates yesterday, as several major universities held in-person graduation ceremonies for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. “What will you create? Whatever it is, run after it. Run, don’t walk. Remember, either you’re running for food, or you are running from becoming food. Oftentimes, you can’t tell which. Either way, run,” he said. Huang was one of several tech executives addressing graduating students at Taiwanese universities. National Chengchi University held two ceremonies, with alumnus Patrick Pan (潘先國), who is head of Taiwan