May 12, 2020 / 2:47 PM / in 17 days

Hundreds of German managers planning return to China

BERLIN, May 12 (Reuters) - Hundreds of German executives who want to get back to China plan to charter a first flight on May 25, with Beijing offering to waive quarantine measures introduced to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, business and diplomatic sources said.

About 500 to 1,000 business managers have been offered an accelerated re-entry procedure by the Chinese government, a German business representative told Reuters on Tuesday, with family members bringing the total to around 2,500 people.

The German Chamber of Commerce in China is in the process of organising a first charter flight with Lufthansa that could fly from Frankfurt to Shanghai on May 25, the representative said.

China has offered to allow the executives to return without having to go into a two-week quarantine, one diplomat said.

Industry representatives said those returning would need to present a negative test for the novel coronavirus, certified by their company doctor, the health department or a laboratory no more than 48 hours before the planned departure.

The German foreign ministry, which has advised against global travel until June 14, said it was examining the offer.

Diplomats said the European Union needed to decide how to proceed, noting the need to clarify whether there can be reciprocity so Chinese managers can return to Europe.

China is Germany’s most important trading partner by far, with around 206 billion euros ($223.76 billion) worth of goods traded in 2019.

Even as much of the rest of the world economy has shut down to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which originated in China, factories there have been ramping up production again since the virus started abating. ($1 = 0.9206 euros) (Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Rene Wagner; Writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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