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COVID castaways

By Xu Lin | China Daily | Updated: 2020-08-24 07:26
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Chinese family recalls being stranded for half a year in the island nation of Seychelles during the pandemic. The bittersweet experience changed their outlooks on life. [Photo by Yang Zhouhu/China Daily]

However, that flight was then canceled, and he was forced to bide his time.

Yang didn't expect the pandemic would spread around the world so quickly.

Seychelles' airport closed during the full lockdown in April. It reopened in June for noncommercial flights, such as cargo operations and passenger repatriation. That rekindled his faint hope of flying home.

Starting from March 29, the Civil Aviation Administration of China announced that every foreign and domestic airline would maintain only one air route to China and operate no more than one flight a week.

"It was very hard to buy tickets from Ethiopia to China, as Ethiopia is an important stopover for flights from Africa, North America and Europe to China. It's often overbooked. We were on the waiting list," he says.

One day, he received a phone call at 3 pm, telling them that they had to catch a flight that would take off for Ethiopia two and a half hours later.

"It was incredible! We hurriedly packed all our belongings and rushed to the airport," he recalls.

Once they disembarked, they were asked to self-isolate in a hotel while waiting for their flight to Shanghai three days later, as required by Ethiopian quarantine rules.

His mother and elder sister burst into tears of joy when the plane landed in Shanghai. And his eyes glistened, too.

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