February 5, 2020 / 11:08 AM / 4 months ago

China air force cleared for Singapore Airshow amid virus concerns

SHANGHAI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China’s air force will participate in the upcoming Singapore Airshow, the Chinese defence ministry and event organisers said on Wednesday, as concerns over the spread of a coronavirus overshadow Asia’s biggest aerospace and defence event.

The ministry said in a post on its official WeChat account that its air force had been invited to take part in the airshow, adding that it would send nine aircraft and more than 100 personnel.

Airshow organisers later said in a statement that China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force aerobatics team, Ba Yi, would fly for the first time at the show due to take place next week, even though 10 exhibitors from China had pulled out.

Singapore has banned entry to all Chinese visitors and foreigners with a recent history of travel to China, in some of the most far-reaching moves globally to deter the fast-spreading coronavirus.

But a spokesperson for Singapore Airshow organiser Experia Events said the Ba Yi team had been taking regular health checks and temperature screenings and that their participation had been approved by local authorities.

“The Chinese personnel’s participation was surfaced to the relevant government authorities, and upon careful consideration and medical assessment, it was decided that they will continue to participate in Singapore Airshow 2020,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai and John Geddie in Singapore; Additional Reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alex Richardson

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