Chinese in Iraq blocked from flying home after virus cases

The Chinese embassy in Iraq says employees of two state-owned companies working there are blocked from returning to China for two months after 14 coworkers flew home with the coronavirus

The 14 employees who flew home with the virus in April worked for China Power Construction Corp. in Rumaila and for the China Machinery Engineering Corp. in Basra, the Chinese Embassy said on its social media account.

Failure to detect the virus before the employees boarded two Iraqi Airlines flights “caused a serious risk of importing the epidemic,” the statement said. It gave no details of whether they passed the virus to anyone in China.

The ruling Communist Party has lifted most restrictions on travel and business within China since declaring the virus under control last March. It is gradually easing controls on travel into and out of the country.

Health codes, carried on smartphones, are used in China to track whether individuals have been infected or have visited high-risk areas.

Once the suspension is lifted, the employees in Iraq will be required to undergo virus tests within 48 hours of boarding a flight, the embassy said.

Also Friday, the Chinese air regulator said Iraqi Airlines’ flights from Baghdad to Guangzhou would be suspended for two weeks due to the incident.