Government chartered flight takes off to bring some Macao residents home from Hubei

Government personnel and flight crew board the Hubei flight to assist in the homecoming mission.

The Government’s chartered flight to bring home some Macao residents still in Hubei Province, took off from Macau International Airport at 9.30am as planned.

The outbound flight – NX9608 – was scheduled to land at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport at 11.07am, in order to pick up 58 Macao residents – drawn from an aggregate of 32 families – that wish to leave Hubei.

The list of returnees was updated as a Macao resident decided for personal reasons not to take the chartered flight, said the Coordinator of the Tourism Crisis Management Office, Ms Helena de Senna Fernandes, who is also the Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office.

Ms Senna Fernandes gave the information to reporters at a command centre set up at Macau International Airport to oversee the chartered flight arrangements. She was accompanied by the Director of the Health Bureau, Mr Lei Chin Ion. The command centre began operations at 7.30am today.

The Government had been notified that one family seeking to return to Macao would arrive at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport later than scheduled, i.e., at around 2pm, due to foggy weather in the Wuhan area. Ms Senna Fernandes said the Government’s chartered flight would wait for that family before flying back to Macao.

Ms Senna Fernandes said one Macao family in Hubei had started their journey to Wuhan’s airport at 2am today, in order to catch the chartered flight. She added Macao’s Tourism Crisis Management Office would remain in close contact with all those intending to take the flight home.

Meanwhile, the command centre was providing timely updates on the situation to the Chief Executive, Mr Ho Iat Seng. The Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao Special Administrative Region was also in close communication with the Hubei Government.

Speaking in the press briefing, Mr Lei said morale was high among the Government personnel sent on the flight to assist in the homecoming mission. Mr Lei noted that – based on the team’s comments prior to the flight’s departure, its members were confident that they were capable of completing the mission successfully.

The Secretary for Administration and Justice, Mr Cheong Weng Chon; the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U; and the Chief-of-Office of the Chief Executive’s Office, Ms Hoi Lai Fong, also visited the airport and talked to the Government personnel before the latter boarded the flight.

The Government personnel consisted of six medical professionals from the Health Bureau and two staff members from the Macao Government Tourism Office. The seven-member flight crew consisted of staff from Air Macau. The 15 people on board the flight assembled at 7am at the Conde S. Januário Hospital for body-temperature checks and other preparations before departure.

The returning flight – NX9607 – is scheduled to take off from Wuhan at 4pm.

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