Chinese businessman spends 2.7 mln yuan to return to China from Africa for COVID-19 treatment

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/14 18:21:31

Air China flight CA9597 takes off at the Daxing International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 25, 2019. Photo:Xinhua

A Chinese businessman from Taizhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, recently spent 2.7 million yuan ($385,885) to arrange a personal charter flight from Africa to China for medical treatment after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ghana.

The man, surnamed Zheng, was rushed to a local hospital for isolation and treatment as soon as he arrived at Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, on July 10, according to media reports.

Zheng's throat swabbed nucleic acid test on July 11 returned a positive test result for COVID-19, and since he was the only passenger on the flight and all relevant staff took precautions against the virus, there are currently no close contacts of Zheng in China, according to an announcement by Zhejiang's health commission. He has since recovered from his severe symptoms to only display mild symptoms after receiving treatment.

One staff member from Taizhou's federation of returned overseas Chinese confirmed with the Global Times that Zheng is the director of the China-Ghana chamber of commerce.

Zheng developed symptoms such as fever, cough, chest distress and shortness of breath on June 17 in Ghana, after attending a local donation event. He later went to hospital for nucleic acid testing, which showed he had been infected with the coronavirus, after which time he reported his illness to the Chinese Embassy in Ghana immediately.

His condition later got more serious, and his symptoms more and more severe. Due to the limited medical resources in Ghana, Zheng then decided to return to China for treatment on June 26. However, all flights to China from Ghana were suspended due to the pandemic. 

One of his friends, surnamed Jiang, contacted the International SOS to arrange a charter flight to bring Zheng home. Jiang also contacted the Chinese Embassy, Civil Aviation Administration, the health commission in Zhejiang and the Xiaoshan airport to confirm approval for his journey.

1 million yuan of the total expense will be covered by an insurance company, according to Jiang.

The incident sparked controversy on China's social media platforms, with many questioning whether Zheng should be able to return to China at this moment simply because he is rich and pulled some strings.

"He is simply using money to save himself. Many ordinary people are still not able to get a ticket back to China," one netizen commented.

"If you want to keep alive, you need to be rich," another one said ironically.

However, many complimented Zheng for doing a great job as he reported his sickness at the very beginning and did not cause the virus to spread among others.

"He is rich, but he is also a responsible person as he didn't harm others by taking a charter flight himself, which is a laudable behavior," a Sina Weibo user commented.

"Stop being jealous, he is spending his own money. You can work hard to make money and use it at such a crucial moment," another one said.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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