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Charter flights bring workers from China to Tibet amid coronavirus fears

With normal transport services being somewhat disrupted due to the Covid-19 epidemic, authorities in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) have been organizing charter flights to bring in Chinese workers to major construction project sites. (Photo courtesy: China Daily)

(TibetanReview.net, Mar03’20) – With normal transport services being somewhat disrupted due to the Covid-19 epidemic, authorities in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) have been organizing charter flights to bring in Chinese workers to major construction project sites, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Mar 2. Although TAR has reported one confirmed Covid-19 case so far, with the patient, who had come from China, having been cured and discharged last month, it is considered a high risk area due especially to its poor health facility.

The latest of such a charter flight landed at the Nyingchi (Tibetan: Nyingtri) City airport with 105 power workers from Zhejiang Province, the report said, adding, they will be assigned to work on the power grid projects.

The report cited Yu Jiajin, leader of the team, as saying nearly 50 of his colleagues had stayed in the city of Nyingchi while others who intended to return and resume work on Jan 29 had been delayed by the epidemic.

“The regular flights and trains were drastically reduced, and the long journey of driving would have increased the risk of being infected,” Yu has said.

The report said other charter flights had also brought workers from China to the cities of Xigaze (Shigatse), Qamdo (Chamdo) as well as the regional capital Lhasa.

The report said all the workers brought to the region would be subjected to a 14-day quarantine before being sent to their assigned construction sites.

The report said the region had planned to pour 187.2 billion yuan (around 26.8 billion US dollars) in 179 projects this year, with the earmarked funds being up 18 percent compared with those in 2019.

It added that by the end of February, more than 10 projects, such as the railway connecting Lhasa and Nyingchi, had remained under or resumed construction. More major projects will see construction restored by March, the regional development and reform commission was cited as saying.

China’s official chinadaily.com.cn Mar 3 cited the National Development and Reform Commission as saying that efforts will be made to speed up the construction of major projects, especially mentioning the Sichuan-Tibet Railway and the high-speed railway along the Yangtze River.

Another chinadaily.com.cn report Mar 3 said visitors to Lhasa must hold valid health certificates issued by the regions they’re coming from before entering the city, citing the leading office dealing with the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The certificates have to have been provided by the townships, villages, streets or communities in which the visitors have household registration.

However, the report did not say anything about visits to other parts of Tibet.

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