Hubei Province (in red)

Almost 450 Taiwanese in central China’s Hubei province have requested repatriation from the virus stricken region.

A Thursday announcement that two flights to help Taiwanese nationals stuck in Hubei since the outbreak began have been arranged by the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) was made by Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The flights are being scheduled for Sunday, March 29th, and Monday, March 30th. All those subsequently arriving in Taiwan will be required to undergo a period of quarantine for 14 days.

The aircraft involved in the repatriation flights, a Boeing 777, will be provided by Taiwan’s China Airlines, but, rather than fly direct to the provincial capital of Wuhan in Hubei, will land in Shanghai, 840km to the east.

Using domestic Chinese transportation this is a journey of roughly eight hours by road or rail.

Passengers will be required to make their own way to Shanghai’s Pudong Airport. This has been made possible for Taiwanese in the wider Hubei area following a decision by China to permit outbound travel from Hubei province yesterday.

Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei meanwhile, remains locked down, and this will continue until April 8th. Exact numbers of Taiwanese in both the province, and provincial capital were not announced.

The initial epicenter of the virus, Wuhan, is in the east of the province, and for a while COVID-19 was for some weeks known as the Wuhan Virus.

This name has now largely been abandoned in favor of COVID-19, or coronavirus in most forms of the print and online media.

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