Charter flight takes 20 Taiwanese from Diamond Princess home

Passengers and luggage to face 14 days of quarantine in Taiwan

The CAL charter flight took off from Taoyuan for Tokyo Friday (Feb. 21) afternoon 

The CAL charter flight took off from Taoyuan for Tokyo Friday (Feb. 21) afternoon  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A China Airlines (CAL) charter flight left Tokyo’s Haneda Airport Friday (Feb. 21) evening with 20 Taiwanese passengers and crew from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise liner.

A total of 24 Taiwanese citizens, 22 passengers and two crew members, had been on board the cruise liner in Yokohama, but seven who had tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) were not allowed to board Friday’s flight, CNA reported.

Two Taiwanese holding Canadian citizenship also joined the passengers’ list, as did a doctor who had been sent to care for the coronavirus cases.

Safety measures were tough, with a new battery of tests determining whether the Taiwanese could board the flight home.

All on board would wear special protective equipment, including glasses, and would be seated far apart on the CAL Boeing 737-800, which could hold about 150 passengers, CNA reported. No food would be served during the trip from Haneda to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

According to the Liberty Times, the flight took off from Tokyo around 7:50 p.m. After their arrival, estimated at 10:15 p.m., the group would be moved separately in a fleet of 12 ambulances to different hospitals, with more tests and 14 days of quarantine scheduled.

Their luggage will be disinfected and be kept in quarantine at the airport for 14 days.

More than 500 passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess were confirmed as coronavirus patients, including two elderly Japanese who died.

By Friday afternoon, Taiwan had recorded 26 cases of the virus, with one fatal victim.