Back home. Two months later, around 200 employees and their families landed this Saturday in China, marking the first return of Europeans to the country since the suspension of visas in late March due to the epidemic. And a kind of return to normal.
The flight, which left the day before from Frankfurt (Germany), landed at 11:52 am (1:52 am in France) at Tianjin airport, a hundred kilometers southeast of Beijing, confirmed a door to AFP - word of the airline Lufthansa.
China, the first country affected by the new coronavirus, closed its borders at the end of March to all visa holders, including holders of residence permits, for fear of a new wave of contaminations from abroad. Many people find themselves stranded abroad and unable to return after leaving China at the height of the epidemic.
"We didn't know if this plane would leave or not"
Some 200 managers and employees of German companies were on board the charter plane, managed by Lufthansa. When they arrived in China, all of them had to undergo a temperature test and a screening test for Covid-19. Passengers must then be in solitary confinement for fourteen days.
Until the last minute, "we did not know if this plane would leave or not," said Friday before takeoff one of them, Alexander Ophoven, who works in the manufacture of components in the aeronautical industry.
A second aircraft is scheduled to depart from Frankfurt for Shanghai on June 3. The flight will be reserved for people whose presence is necessary in China for economic, commercial, scientific or technological purposes or for urgent humanitarian reasons.
The number of flights to China is increasing
More than 5,200 German companies are established in China, according to the Germanic Chamber of Commerce. Two months after closing its borders, China is beginning to lift restrictions on foreigners.
Beijing announced on Friday that Singaporean nationals whose presence in China is essential for the economic recovery will be allowed to return to the country from early June. The measure will only apply to six cities and provinces initially, including Shanghai.
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The number of international flights between China and the rest of the world, drastically reduced because of the epidemic, must also drop from 134 to 407 per week as of Monday, according to the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) ). At present, they are limited to one connection per week per company (Chinese or foreign) and per country.