China arranges planes to fly citizens back, help with global pandemic fight
Workers disinfect the luggage of inbound passengers at the Capital International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, March 18, 2020.
Between March 4 and 26, China has arranged nine special flights to bring 1,466 Chinese citizens home from abroad.
China has taken a series of measures to protect the health of Chinese living or studying abroad while stemming potential import of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), an aviation official said Thursday.
China has arranged nine special flights, three from Italy and six from Iran, to bring 1,466 Chinese citizens home between March 4 and 26, said Lyu Erxue, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
From Iran alone, the special flights flew back 976 Chinese citizens, most of whom were Chinese students, he said, noting that the fourth such flight taking off from Italy is scheduled to bring back 180 Chinese citizens to the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou.
Another plane has departed from Shanghai for London Thursday morning to ferry 180 overseas Chinese students home, the first such flight orchestrated for Chinese citizens in the United Kingdom, according to Lyu.
For Chinese citizens who remained abroad, 116 tonnes of health supplies have been delivered to Chinese embassies and consulates in seven countries including Italy, the United States, France and the United Kingdom as of Wednesday, with the rest of the 300-tonne supplies bound for 12 countries to be delivered before April 10, according to Lyu.
To minimize the risk of imported cases, the CAAC said it sought to keep international flights per week under 134, including necessary ones to carry Chinese studying or living aborad back home.
As of Wednesday, the CAAC has organized 178 planes to send 100 medical experts and workers, as well as more than 2,635 tonnes of supplies to 40 countries worldwide to help fight the pandemic.
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