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Chinese arrive back from Mexico to quarantine
May 6, 2009 / 9:25 AM / 9 years ago

Chinese arrive back from Mexico to quarantine

(For full coverage of the flu outbreak, click [nFLU]) (Recasts with flight’s arrival, adds details)

By Royston Chan

SHANGHAI, May 6 (Reuters) - An aircraft carrying 98 Chinese stranded in Mexico by the H1N1 flu scare arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday and all on board appear healthy though they will have to spend a week in quarantine, state media said.

The China Southern flight, which had been delayed by bad weather, came to a halt away from the main terminal building where officials in white protective clothing and masks waited to lead passengers on to a fleet of buses.

They were to be taken to a hotel near the airport for seven days of quarantined medical observation, state television said.

The crew will also be quarantined, though they have the choice of staying in Shanghai or the southern city of Guangzhou, the airline’s home base, it said.

State television said the passengers and crew all appeared healthy with no flu symptoms.

An AeroMexico plane arrived in Shanghai on Tuesday to repatriate dozens of Mexicans who had become pawns in a drama about how far governments should go to stifle fears that the H1N1 virus could cross their borders. [ID:nSP348835]

None of the 43 Mexicans that Beijing quarantined had shown symptoms of the H1N1 flu virus, prompting Mexico to accuse China of being "discriminatory".

China denied the charge, saying isolation was the correct procedure. [ID:nSP475284]

The row has strained what had been a warming relationship but, with Beijing courting Latin America as a trade and diplomatic partner, the damage appears unlikely to last.

Mexico is considered the epicentre of the flu outbreak, which has infected more than 1,490 people in 21 countries, sparking fears of a global pandemic. [ID:nN05520651]

The Chinese quarantines came after a Mexican man fell ill with the flu in Hong Kong, having arrived from Mexico via Shanghai.

The Health Ministry said on Wednesday it would release people still quarantined from that flight on Thursday if they still showed no flu symptoms.

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