Chinese in Iraq blocked from flying home after virus cases: embassy

Travelers wearing face masks following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak walk past security guards at a railway station as the Spring Festival travel season begins ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, in Shanghai, China January 28, 2021. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Chinese employees working for two state-owned companies in Iraq are blocked from returning to China for two months after a dozen coworkers flew home with COVID-19, according to China’s embassy in Baghdad.

The Chinese embassy said on its social media account on Friday that 14 employees who flew home with the virus in April worked for China Power Construction Corp. in Rumaila and for the China Machinery Engineering Corp. in Basra.

It added that failure to detect the virus before the employees boarded two Iraqi Airlines flights “caused a serious risk of importing the epidemic”, according to the Associated Press.

China suspended issuing health codes to other employees on those projects for two months, the Chinese embassy said.

That blocked the employers from boarding flights to China, it stated.

The embassy further said once the suspension is lifted, the employees in Iraq would be required to undergo virus tests within 48 hours of boarding a flight.

The Chinese air regulator also said on Friday that Iraqi Airlines’ flights from Baghdad to Guangzhou would be suspended for two weeks due to the incident.

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