China to Bring Back Passengers Stranded Overseas

A security staff member checks a passenger's temperature at Sanya Phoenix International Airport in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province, Jan. 27, 2020. (Xinhua/Pu Xiaoxu)

BEIJING (Xinhua) — China will arrange or charter flights to bring back passengers stranded overseas due to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, according to the country’s civil aviation regulator.

Some foreign airlines have reduced or canceled flights because of the outbreak, leaving some passengers stranded overseas, said Zhu Tao, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (ACCA).

The ACCA will keep close contact with the National Health Commission, some relevant departments and airlines to arrange or charter flights to transport passengers in need back to China, Zhu said.

Recently, some domestic and foreign airlines have sent flights from Japan, Thailand, Singapore and other countries to Wuhan to transport passengers back home.

China announced 9,692 confirmed cases

Chinese health authorities announced Friday that 9,692 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps by the end of Thursday. A total of 213 people have died of the disease.

The National Health Commission said in its daily report that 1,527 patients remained in critical conditions, and 15,238 people were suspected of being infected with the virus as of the end of Thursday.

A total of 171 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.

Thursday saw 1,982 new confirmed cases, 4,812 new suspected cases, and 43 deaths — 42 in Hubei Province and one in Heilongjiang Province.

Also on Thursday, 157 patients became seriously ill, and 47 people were discharged from hospital after recovery.

A total of 113,579 close contacts had been traced, the commission said, adding that among them, 4,201 were discharged from medical observation on Thursday, with 102,427 others still under medical observation.

By the end of Thursday, 12 confirmed cases had been reported in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, seven in Macao Special Administrative Region and nine in Taiwan.