Viruses: a first flight of the european employees in back in China

Virus: un premier vol d'employés européens de retour en Chine

Beijing | An aircraft carrying a majority of Germans, about 200 employees and their families, landed Saturday in China, marking the first return of Europeans in the country since the suspension of visas at the end of march because of the epidemic.

The flight, departed on the eve of Frankfurt (Germany), landed at 3 h 52 GMT at the airport of Tianjin, a hundred kilometers south-east of Beijing, confirmed to AFP a spokesman of the airline company Lufthansa.

China, the first country affected by the new coronavirus, was closed at the end of march its borders to all visa holders, including holders of a residence permit, for fear of a new wave of contamination from abroad.

Many of them, and thus become stranded abroad and unable to return after their departure from China at the height of the epidemic.

Some 200 officers and employees of German companies were aboard the aircraft-charter, managed by Lufthansa.

All were to be subject to their arrival in China of a temperature taking and a screening test of Covid-19. Passengers will then need to be in isolation for fourteen days.

Up to the last minute, “we don’t know if this plane would leave or not,” said Friday, before the takeoff, one of them, Alexander Ophoven, who works in the manufacture of components in the aerospace industry.

A second aircraft from Frankfurt to Shanghai on June 3.

The flight will be restricted to persons whose presence is necessary in China for economic, trade, scientific, or technological, or for urgent humanitarian reasons.

Over 5200 German companies are based in China, according to the Chamber of commerce germanic.

Two months after the closing of its borders, China is beginning to lift some of the restrictions imposed to foreigners.

Beijing announced on Friday that the citizens of Singapore, whose presence in China is essential to the economic recovery, will be allowed to return to the country from the beginning of June. The measure shall however only apply to six provinces and cities in a first time, including Shanghai.

The number of international flights between China and the rest of the world, drastically reduced because of the epidemic, must also pass from 134 to 407 per week, starting from Monday, according to the chinese Administration of civil aviation (CAAC).

At the present time, they are limited to one link per week per company (chinese or foreign) and country-by-country.

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