China begins lifting quarantine on Mexican flight passengers

After a seven-day quarantine, China began releasing passengers who had shared a flight from Mexico with a man who later tested positive for the A (H1N1) virus, according to state media.


AFP - China started lifting Thursday a seven-day quarantine on passengers who had shared a flight from Mexico with a man who later tested positive for swine flu, state media reported.

They included nine people in Beijing, who were leaving isolation with a document stating they had not shown any symptoms of carrying the virus, also known as A(H1N1), the Xinhua news agency said.

China tracked down and isolated people who had been on board last Thursday's flight AM098 from Mexico City to Shanghai, after one of the passengers, a 25-year-old Mexican man, was diagnosed with swine flu.

Even though passengers of the flight were scheduled to come out of quarantine during the day, dozens of Chinese remained in isolation for various other reasons.

He Xiong, deputy director of the Beijing Disease Control Centre, told Xinhua that 51 people were in quarantine in the capital.

China came under criticism earlier this week for isolating a large number of Mexican citizens, some of whom had been on flight AM098. Others were allegedly placed in quarantine purely because of their nationality.

Mexico on Tuesday sent a chartered plane to China to take back home nationals who wished to be repatriated.

Xinhua reported earlier Thursday that 25 Canadian students were released from medical surveillance for swine flu in northeast China.

The students, released Wednesday, were put under observation at a hotel immediately after flying to Changchun, capital of Jilin province, on May 2 from Canada via Beijing, according to Xinhua.

The World Health Organisation said Wednesday that 1,893 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infections have been reported by 23 countries, including 31 who have died from the disease.

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