Chinese carrier airlifts 175 passengers from Da Lat

By Nguyen Quy   January 30, 2020 | 06:43 am PT
Chinese carrier airlifts 175 passengers from Da Lat
Passengers go through the health quarantine area at a Vietnam airport. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
China’s Qingdao Airlines has operated a special flight to ferry 175 stranded Chinese tourists back home from Da Lat in Vietnam's Central Highlands.

Officials at Lien Khuong International Airport near Da Lat Town said they left on Thursday afternoon.

The flight had to be arranged since all commercial flights between Da Lat and China’s Gansu Province, where the tourists were from, have been cancelled.

Gansu is one of 30 provinces that China has placed under lockdown as the deadly new coronavirus spread quickly.

The airport in Lam Dong Province has installed devices to check arriving passengers’ temperature, and the provincial centers for disease control are coordinating with health officials to detect suspected patients.

Da Lat is a popular tourist destination famous for its cool climate and French colonial relics.

Vietnamese aviation authorities permitted Vietjet Air to fly 166 Chinese tourists from Wuhan back home last Sunday. They were part of a 218-member group visiting central Da Nang City, and the 52 others had flown back earlier.

The group had arrived in Da Nang on January 22 before a travel ban was imposed in Wuhan.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has stopped all flights to China’s coronavirus-hit areas, including Wuhan since Wednesday.

The virus has spread from mainland China to Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, the U.S., South Korea, France, Germany, Canada, Vietnam, UAE, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Tibet.

Chinese authorities said 170 people had died of the disease as of Thursday morning. The number of confirmed cases of infection has topped 7,819.

Vietnam has banned entry for people coming from China’s epidemic-hit areas and quarantined Chinese workers returning to Vietnam after Tet.

It has temporarily stopped issuing tourist visas to Chinese living in epidemic-hit areas, except in emergencies.

Vietnam's top destinations Da Nang, Khanh Hoa and Lao Cai are turning away Chinese tourists.

As of Thursday Vietnam had 97 suspected cases of infection with symptoms like fever and cough, and 32 people are in quarantine pending test results.

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