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Testing at Pudong for Beijing passengers

Shanghai Daily 徽标 Shanghai Daily 2020/3/25 Yang Jian

A temporary entry port has been set up at the Pudong International Airport to receive redirected international flights to Beijing, Shanghai Airport Authority said on Wednesday.

The "mini entry checkpoint" is at the No. 601 departure hall at the airport’s S2 satellite terminal.

Passengers on international flights to Beijing are screened for the coronavirus and undergo other immigration checks.

Since Monday, all international flights to Beijing have been diverted to airports in a dozen other cities, including Shanghai, as their first point of entry, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Passengers will go through customs clearance and quarantine at these airports, and after passing inspection can go on to Beijing on their original flights.

The first such flight — Air China's flight CA942 from Dubai — landed at Pudong on Tuesday afternoon and inspections were completed by early Wednesday morning. There were 248 passengersnbsp;onboard, including 10 overseas travelers, as well as 17 crew.

When the Airbus 330 landed at 1:50pm, customs officials boarded to check health declaration cards and each passenger’s temperature.

Passengers were then organized in groups of 20 to leave the plane and be tested for the virus on the tarmac.

Four buses near the aircraft served as temporary sites for swabs to be taken. Each passenger had to undergo strict disinfection before getting on the buses.

"Eight checkpoints have been set up to finish collecting the swab samples for all the passengers on a flight in about an hour," saidnbsp;Liaonbsp;Jian, an official in charge of testing.nbsp;

Five shuttle buses then took passengers to the temporary entry point at the S2 terminal to undergo other customs inspections and wait for test results.nbsp;

The airport had prepared chairs with electric sockets, free meals, cold and hot water as well as a vending machine for snacks, the airport authority said. "We try to not only ensure the strict prevention against coronavirus but also provide comfortable services," an airport official said.

17 hours after landing

The airport, along with Shanghai Customs, the police, health authority and the Pudong government, built the temporary entry port in just 15 hours after the announcement of entry arrangements for Beijing-bound international flights, the airport authority said.

"These strict measures make me feel safe," a Beijing traveler on the flight said. "We should certainly follow all the regulations after returning to our home country," she added.

Test results came out at around 3am on Wednesday.

Two people tested positive. They were taken to a designated local hospital by ambulance. Forty-four passengersnbsp;who had been in close contact with them were sent to designated hotels for medical observation and 14-day quarantine.

Transfer passengers can choose to abort their trip to Beijing and stay in Shanghai, but they have to follow the city's closed-loop management of all inbound passengers.

On the Air China flight, for instance, 25 transfer passengers who had planned to go to Shanghai and neighboringnbsp;Jiangsu,nbsp;Zhejiangnbsp;andnbsp;Anhuinbsp;provinces after arriving in Beijing, did not board the aircraft again.

The other passengers who tested negative got back on the plane to continue their trip. The plane took off at 6:45am on Wednesday, about 17 hours after it had landed at Pudong.

Entry arrangements for Beijing-bound international flights will be adjusted in accordance with the COVID-19 situation, the administration said.

Shanghai has said that testing all arriving international passengers to prevent spreading the coronavirus via imported cases was a priority.

Customs has almost trebled its number of officers to over 1,300 at the Pudong airport.

Shanghai reported 19 new confirmed imported COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 94.

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