A group of air passengers from Shanghai have refused to board the same plane with tourists from Wuhan after allegedly noticing them secretly taking anti-fever medicine in the airport, according to reports.
The drama reportedly took place yesterday in Japan as the two rivalling groups were ready to go home from Chubu Centrair International Airport near the city of Nagoya.
It is said the protesting Shanghai travellers, around 70 of them, demanded the airline bar 16 Wuhan residents, fearing that they might spread the coronavirus to the others. The stand-off led to a five-hour delay to the two-hour flight.
The airport quarrel broke out when one middle-aged woman from Shanghai discovered a number of people sitting opposite to her in the airport lounge talking to each other in the Wuhan dialect, according to a blog written by Chinese journalist Xu Jingbo, citing sources
The incident occurred just half an hour before the scheduled boarding time for flight CZ380 from Nagoya to Shanghai operated by China Southern Airlines, sources have revealed.
The passengers from Wuhan were eventually allowed to take the flight after staff from the Chinese Consulate-General in Nagoya – called in by the airline – mediated between the two sides.
The coronavirus epidemic has killed at least 130 people – all in China – and sickened nearly 6,000 worldwide.
One person on Weibo, who claimed to be from Wuhan and on the flight, wrote: ‘This group of Shanghainese complained to the airport and refused to take the same flight with us. Are they really our compatriots?’ The web user also shared pictures, which appear to show the event
The eyewitness added: ‘When we left, the government did not seal off the city. We are not here to avoid disasters, we are enjoy holidays as usual.’ The person took to social media to complain
The intensifying health crisis has led the authorities to quarantine at least 56 million people living in central China’s Hubei Province, including Wuhan, and cancel Lunar New Year festivities around the country.
The airport row happened as Japan today confirmed two more cases, including one patient who had never been to Wuhan and was caught the virus through human-to-human transmission.
As of today, six people have been diagnosed with the virus in Japan.
China’s state newspaper, CCTV, yesterday urged its citizens not to discriminate people from Hubei, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
The airport quarrel broke out when one middle-aged woman from Shanghai discovered a number of people sitting opposite to her in the airport lounge talking to each other in the Wuhan dialect, according to a blog written by Chinese journalist Xu Jingbo, citing eyewitnesses.
The woman then saw the Wuhan passengers ‘shoving’ fever-reducing medicine into their mouth and quickly alerted the other Shanghai passengers of the situation, the report said.
A group of Shanghai natives then rushed to the counter and told an airline worker ‘these Wuhan people have fever, and cannot be let onto the plane’, the journalist added.
One person on Weibo, who claimed to be from Wuhan and on the flight, wrote: ‘We cannot return to hour home. But half an hour before the boarding time, this group of Shanghainese complained to the airport and refused to take the same flight with us. Are they really our compatriots?’
The eyewitness added: ‘We are also victims. When we left, the government did not seal off the city. We are not here to avoid disasters, we are enjoy holidays as usual. Who would have thought about the situation?’
However, the Wuhan passenger’s explanation did not get much support on Weibo, with many people expressing sympathy to the people sharing their flight.
One such comment said: ‘I heard some people on your flight had fever. So they had reasons to refuse to board [the flight with you].’
Another person wrote: ‘Please carry out voluntary self-quarantine.’
Countries and regions in East Asia and across the world have stepped up their efforts in the control and prevention of coronavirus. In the picture above, a face mask production line operates at the Motex Healthcare Corp in Changhua, western Taiwan, on January 28
The virus has been found in 18 countries and regions, including China. In the picture above, people queue to buy face masks at the Motex Healthcare Corp in Taiwan on January 28
It is reported that the Wuhan passengers were allowed to board after representatives from the Chinese Consulate-General in Nagoya were called to deal with the matter.
The airport also sent workers to take the body temperature of each passenger and found one of them who had a slight fever, it is alleged. The ill passenger was said to be removed from the flight.
According to Shanghai Health Commission, the flight only carried 27 passengers, including 19 who had been to Wuhan within two weeks prior to their travels.
The 19 passengers were seated in a different cabin to the others, the Commission said in a press conference yesterday.
They received health checks after they arrived in Shanghai, and no abnormality was detected, officials said.
All passengers on board the plane are currently in quarantine.