Taipei, May 16--Thirty-six Taiwanese nationals stranded in the Maldives by the COVID-19 pandemic returned home on Saturday evening on a regularly scheduled China Airlines (CAL) flight from Kuala Lumpur after reaching Malaysia on a charter flight from Male.
The CI722 flight, which had a total of 200 passengers on board, departed from Kuala Lumpur at around 2:45 p.m. and arrived at Taoyuan International Airport at 7:12 p.m.
After the flight touched down at the Taoyuan Airport, the 36 people returning from the Maldives handed in health declarations before being placed in quarantine for 14 days.
Four of them reported having respiratory problems in the past 14 days and had mucus samples taken to test for COVID-19 before being sent to a designated quarantine facility with the others.
A total of 39 Taiwanese stranded in the Maldives had planned to return to Taiwan, but three of them failed to make it due to personal problems, Ann Hung (洪慧珠), Taiwan's representative to Malaysia, said before the CAL flight departed.
The 39 Taiwanese were on islets scattered around the Maldives, Hung said, and it was difficult to stay in contact with them and coordinate their travel home.
They all overcame transportation obstacles to reach Male, the capital city of the Maldives, but only 36 boarded a charter flight operated by AirAsia Friday night, along with 52 Malaysians and six Japanese, that arrived in Kuala Lumpur early Saturday morning.
Hung said that because many countries closed their borders to contain the spread of the virus, the Taiwanese in Maldives had been unable to return home when they wanted to.