Special flights to China out of bounds for many Indians, including diplomats

Vikash Aiyappa

New Delhi, June 29: Several Indians, including diplomats were not allowed by China to take a special Air India flight from New Delhi to Guangzhou city early on Monday because two Indians had tested positive for COVID-19.

After the two Indians were diagnosed with COVID-19, the Chinese authorities only gave permission for an empty flight from India to land in the southern city of Guangzhou to repatriate Indians.

On Monday afternoon, the special plane from India took off from Guangzhou with 86 Indians under the third phase of the Vande Bharat Mission. The June 21 Shanghai flight was also part of the repatriation mission on which 186 Indians returned.

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The decision by China not to allow Indians even on special flights and with diplomatic passports is a clear indication that flights between the two countries are unlikely to resume anytime soon.

The Chinese foreign ministry in a statement said recently, we have assisted in arranging the return of some Indian diplomats and their families to China. "In view of the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 on the temporary flight, China and India agreed in advance that the temporary flight arriving in Guangzhou on June 29 would not carry passengers," the ministry further said.

"Cases 2 and 3 are of Indian nationality and live in India. They departed from India on June 20 and arrived at Shanghai Pudong International Airport that day. After entering the customs, they were intensively isolated and observed. Symptoms occurred during the period. Comprehensive epidemiological history, clinical symptoms, laboratory tests and imaging findings, etc, were diagnosed as confirmed cases," the Shanghai Health Commission said.

"Three imported confirmed cases have been transferred to designated medical institutions for treatment, and 47 close contacts with the flight have been tracked, and all have been implemented for centralised isolation and observation," the statement further said.

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