First flight of returning European employees lands in China

A screen showing Lufthansa flight LH 342 to Tianjin, China (the first post-lockdown flight departing Europe for China) is pictured at the airport in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. A first mass flight carrying Europeans to China following weeks of lockdown departed Germany's biggest hub Frankfurt late Friday, carrying around 200 workers and their families. - AFP

BEIJING: A Lufthansa plane carrying around 200 mainly German workers landed in China on Saturday (May 30), marking the first return of Europeans since the country suspended visas over the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pabdemic.

China drastically cut international flight routes in late March and imposed a entry ban on most foreigners -- including those with valid residence visas.

The move underlined its fears over imported coronavirus cases and a second wave of infections as the virus epicentre shifted beyond China, where the deadly pathogen was first reported late last year.

Many workers found themselves stranded abroad and unable to return after leaving China at the height of the epidemic.

Lufthansa's flight from Frankfurt landed shortly before noon at Tianjin airport, southeast of Beijing, the German flag-carrier said.

The group, made up of employees of German companies and their families, were tested for COVID-19 after they landed and will have to quarantine for two weeks.

"We did not know if this plane would leave or not" until the last minute, said passenger Alexander Ophoven before takeoff.

A second aircraft -- reserved for people whose who need to be in China for economic, commercial, scientific or technological purposes, or for urgent humanitarian reasons -- is scheduled to depart from Frankfurt for Shanghai on June 3.

There are more than 5,000 German companies operating in China, according to the local German Chamber of Commerce.

Two months after closing its borders, China is beginning to lift restrictions on foreigners.

Beijing announced on Friday that some Singapore nationals will be allowed to return from early June. They will only be allowed entry into six cities and provinces initially, including Shanghai.

The number of international flights between China and the rest of the world will increase from 134 to 407 per week as of Monday, according to the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration. - AFP
Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In Aseanplus News

Asean News Headlines as at 10pm on Saturday (July 24)
127 new local Covid-19 cases in Singapore, including 75 linked to Jurong Fishery Port and five to KTV clusters
India rescuers hunt for survivors as landslide toll hits 125
It keeps rising! Indonesia reports 45,416 newly-confirmed Covid-19 cases, 1,415 more deaths
Thailand reports over 14,000 Covid cases for second successive day; death toll now almost 4,000
Philippines Covid-19 death toll surges past 27,000 as country reports 6,216 new virus cases; govt to ensure enough oxygen supply
Vietnam reports record 7,968 coronavirus cases on Saturday; cases continues to soar in South-East Asia country
US renews call on Myanmar to free journalist amid Covid-19 fears
Thailand's Wongpattanakit wins women's 49kg taekwondo gold medal - first Olympic gold for South-East Asia in Tokyo
Singapore: PM Lee Hsien Loong urges senior citizens not to delay Covid-19 vaccination

Stories You'll Enjoy