The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government will arrange two chartered flights to bring back hundreds of its residents under quarantine aboard a cruise ship in Japan, an official said Monday.
John Lee, secretary for security of the HKSAR government, told a press briefing that once all the Hong Kong residents on board are cleared of virus tests, the government will ask the Japanese authority to transport them to the Haneda Airport in Tokyo to get on the chartered flights.
The two flights will bring 350 Hong Kong residents, and possibly five from Macao, back to Hong Kong on Thursday, Lee said, adding that there will be a 14-day quarantine period upon their arrival.
Some 3,700 passengers and crew on board the cruise ship, known as Diamond Princess, have been kept in quarantine since early February after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Japanese authorities said the passengers will be allowed to disembark the ship if they test negative and show no health problems when the quarantine period ends on Wednesday.
Hong Kong on Monday sent the first team comprising about 30 people of various government agencies to handle the operation and another team will be dispatched on Tuesday, Lee said.
Lee said the operation has received support from the Chinese government and China's embassy in Japan.