Passengers board a Hainan Airlines airplane at Haikou Meilan International Airport in the capital city of Hainan province on Nov 12, 2018. (HU YUANJIA / FOR CHINA DAILY)
BEIJING — China's civil flights will not be suspended, and the Chinese government will bring Chinese nationals home from wherever they are, a foreign ministry spokesperson said Thursday.
Hua Chunying, the spokesperson, made the remarks when asked to comment on the suggestions of certain countries' officials that their citizens should leave China as soon as possible, fearing that China will make further travel restrictions and make it difficult to leave China on commercial flights in the coming weeks.
The Chinese government attaches high importance to the life and health of all people in China, Chinese and foreign nationals alike
Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokesperson, China
"That's just assumptions," said Hua.
The Chinese government attaches high importance to the life and health of all people in China, Chinese and foreign nationals alike, she said, adding that China has taken the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures against the novel coronavirus, many of which have far exceeded what the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Health Regulations require.
Currently, the security, health and living standards of foreign nationals in China is guaranteed. The Civil Aviation Administration of China has taken effective measures to minimize the possibility of the virus spreading in airplanes and to ensure travelers' safety and health on international flights, said the spokesperson.
"We hope all countries can assess the epidemic situation and China's efforts in a calm, objective and rational manner and do not overreact," said Hua.
She said after some countries resorted to extreme restrictions such as suspending flights despite WHO recommendations and the International Civil Aviation Organization bulletins, some Chinese nationals have ended up stranded overseas.
The Chinese government attaches great importance to addressing this situation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chinese diplomatic missions overseas have been assisting them in getting back home by changing flights or transiting through other countries, said Hua.
She said coordination efforts are also under way to get previous flights resumed to bring them home.
Ensuring services of international routes
Meanwhile, China's civil aviation regulator has required all domestic airlines to strive to ensure services of international routes amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Many Chinese airlines are trying their best to find ways to overcome difficulties
Yu Biao, official with Civil Aviation Administration of China
Many Chinese airlines are trying their best to find ways to overcome difficulties, said Yu Biao, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China, at the daily press briefing Thursday in response to reports that many foreign airlines have suspended their flights to China.
Yu took Air China as an example, noting that the carrier is applying to open international multi-stop flights to pick up more passengers, which could be a good choice at such a hard time.
The administration also worked with the foreign ministry to send out a notice to the civil aviation regulators of over 70 countries to introduce China's prevention and control measures on outbound flights, customs and quarantine, Yu said.
"We hope this could eliminate unnecessary worries of those countries," Yu added.
Yu said the authorities in some countries and regions have expressed their trust that the measures are safe and effective and responded positively to the resumption of flights.
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