An Air China plane takes off from Beijing Daxing International Airport on Sept 25, 2019. （Photo by Zou Hong/chinadaily.com.cn）
China's embassy in London is conducting a survey of school-aged Chinese students based in the United Kingdom, as part of a government effort to bring those with concerns amid the novel coronavirus pandemic back to China.
It comes after China's Foreign Ministry said it would arrange a charter flight, in coordination with the Civil Aviation Administration of China, to bring Chinese students facing difficulties back to China.
On Thursday, 181 Chinese citizens, including students in need, left the UK on a flight arranged by the ministry bound for China.
According to an announcement on the embassy website, primary and secondary students under age 18, who have been in the UK either short-or long-term without their parents, are now able to register for flights home.
It said that, in principle, minors studying abroad need to travel alone, and parents or guardians in the UK cannot accompany them on the plane. Applicants must agree to accept the risks involved, and must submit to quarantine arrangements during the flight and upon arrival.
The direct flight ticket from London to China, in an economy seat, will cost between 30,000 and 40,000 yuan ($4,253 and $5,671), with a seat in business class ranging from 50,000 to 60,000 yuan.
As the Chinese government scrambles to prevent more imported cases, all returnees will be asked to remain quarantined for 14 days on arrival, at their own expense.
Britain is host to more than 220,000 Chinese students at 154 universities, and around 15,000 younger Chinese pupils are studying at more than 1,000 private schools, making China the top source for overseas students in the UK, according to the Chinese embassy in London.
In recent days, multiple passengers on international flights back to China have been diagnosed with COVID-19, resulting in a large number of passengers and crew members being quarantined. The embassy advised Chinese citizens to reduce cross-border movement if travel is not urgent.