Myanmar turns back Guangzhou flight

Myanmar turns back Guangzhou flight

Passenger with symptoms quarantined in Yangon but full China Southern jet sent home

A China Southern Airlines employee wears a surgical mask while he serves a customer at Benito Juarez international airport in Mexico City. (Reuters Photo)
A China Southern Airlines employee wears a surgical mask while he serves a customer at Benito Juarez international airport in Mexico City. (Reuters Photo)

YANGON: Authorities in Myanmar turned back a China Southern flight from Guangzhou with almost everyone on board on Friday after one of the passengers was found with flu symptoms similar to the fast-spreading coronavirus, a government spokesman said.

The plane arrived in the commercial capital Yangon and the passenger, a Chinese national, was sent to a hospital in the city where he will be quarantined, said government spokesman Zaw Htay.

Two Myanmar nationals who also disembarked have agreed to isolate themselves in their homes for 14 days, he told reporters at a press conference.

The plane returned to Gaungzhou with everyone else on board.

Myanmar has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which first emerged in China’s central province of Hubei and has infected almost 10,000 people since, mostly in and around Hubei.

There are no plans to close the country’s long and porous border with China or to ban Chinese travelers but Myanmar has introduced temperature screenings at airports and border gates, Zaw Htay said.

A group of about 60 Myanmar students studying in Wuhan, the Chinese city worst hit by the virus, will be flown to Mandalay on Sunday, he said.

Myanmar does not have the capacity to test for the virus in-country, and is sending samples from suspected patients to neighboring Thailand, Khin Khin Gyi, a Health Ministry spokeswoman, told Reuters.

Results are expected within a week, she said.


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