TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday (March 10) addressed the escalating novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Italy and responded to the charter flight demands made by local Taiwanese.
During Tuesday's regular press conference, MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) noted that the number of coronavirus cases is rapidly rising in Italy and that some Taiwanese in the European country, including the Taiwanese business association in Milan, have expressed hope that the Taiwanese government would send charter flights to take them home.
Ou emphasized that the Taiwanese authorities are vigorously observing the situation in Europe and keeping close contact with approximately 450 Taiwanese businessmen and students stranded in northern Italy. Regarding the charter flight request, Ou explained that the lockdown in Italy is different from the one in China, and Taiwanese can still apply to depart the country with passports and related documents, reported New Talk.
Ou pointed out that many Taiwanese with dual citizenship have decided to remain in Italy. She said that the Italian government has restricted public gatherings and is likely to upgrade its measures in the future, so it might be safer for the Taiwanese in Italy to return home as soon as possible, reported CNA.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the total number of infections in Italy has risen to 9,172, including 366 deaths. The Taiwanese government has raised its travel advisory for Italy to "red," advising citizens not to visit the virus-stricken country at all.