Chinese Foreign Ministry coordinating with other departments to arrange flight to Britain
More Chinese students in the United Kingdom will be able to return to their homeland later this week following an arrangement struck between the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
Speaking at a daily news briefing, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the foreign ministry is coordinating with the CAAC and other departments to arrange a flight to the UK on Thursday to bring back Chinese students in need.
"The Communist Party of China Central Committee attaches great importance to and cares deeply about Chinese students abroad, and has taken major measures to protect their safety and health," Hua said.
"After COVID-19 broke out in many places around the world, China arranged temporary flights to bring back people... (in difficulty) in an orderly manner from Iran and Italy."
She went on to say, "The CPC and the Chinese government closely follow and care for the health and safety of overseas Chinese students.
"In accordance with the directions of the CPC Central Committee, the Foreign Ministry instructed over 280 Chinese embassies and consulates overseas to maintain close contact with overseas Chinese students, get to know their requests and difficulties, and help them solve practical problems."
While the UK has more than 220,000 Chinese students at 154 universities, around 15,000 Chinese teenagers are studying at more than 1,000 British private schools, making China the top source of overseas students in the UK, according to the Chinese embassy in London.
The embassy has provided Chinese students in Britain with "health kits" containing essential epidemic prevention materials and guidelines. The number of COVID-19 cases in the UK reached more than 25,000 on Wednesday.
China still faces the risk of a rebound of novel coronavirus pneumonia at home, with the spread of the pandemic overseas posing new challenges. Experts in disease control, based on the World Health Organization recommendations, suggested reducing cross-border movement as much as possible.
Chinese civil aviation authorities reduced the volume of international passenger flights in response to the pandemic's spread, with all foreign airlines to maintain only one air route to China and operate no more than a single flight per week starting last Sunday. Chinese domestic airlines are also asked to retain just one air route to each foreign destination and fly the route only once a week.
Noting that some overseas Chinese students face various difficulties and need to return home, the CAAC said the major air transportation guarantee mechanism will be activated to arrange extra flights and charter flights to cities with viable destinations where a large number of people in need are concentrated.