These students departed from the UK and arrived at Copenhagen airport on February 8 for their connecting flight to China. They were among the 54 Chinese citizens who were left in limbo at the airport because of positive Covid-19 results delivered by the clinic airport doctor.
“We were told that we couldn’t board the flight because we tested positive,” a graduate student who requested anonymity told The PIE.
“It is after the flight departed that they agreed to give us the reports on the condition that we handed in our passports, which we refused. Then the staff from the Chinese embassy came, so we gave them our passports for photocopy and were provided with the reports afterwards.”
With doubts about this large number of positive results, they paid Scandinavian Airlines, which they booked flights with, for lateral flow tests with none of the results coming back positive.
“I haven’t brushed my teeth or washed my face or had a shower for three days,” Chen, a graduate student told The PIE.
“I’ve only had a sandwich and a box of noodles so far. I’m so cold and hungry and exhausted.”
“I haven’t brushed my teeth or washed my face or had a shower for three days”
According to Copenhagen airport, all Chinese passengers in this incident have been offered both hotel free of charge – and when testing negative a rebooking with SAS.
None of the Chinese students agreed to go to the hotel because taking the offer would be equal to accepting their positive results, which would pose more obstacles to their journey back to China.
“If I agree to return to the UK, my positive Covid result will be recorded by all of the Chinese embassies despite being misdiagnosed,” another graduate student who requested anonymity told the PIE.
“In this case, I have to go through the procedure for people who have recovered from Covid, which will take around three months. At that time, my Tier 4 student visa will be expired.”
Those whose visas will expire soon also face the possibility of being refused entry to the UK. Besides concerns for the visa, most of the students have ended their tenancy, with no personal belongings left there.
Following their continued demand, a third-party testing agency carried out PCR tests for them on the night of February 9. They will be allowed to stay at the airport and continue negotiations if their test results are negative. Otherwise, they have to be quarantined and return to the UK after they recover.
“The group of Chinese citizens … need to have a negative PCR test in order to continue their travel. The matter is currently being handled by Copenhagen Airport and the flight company, and further questions should be directed to them,” Copenhagen Police told the PIE.
But Copenhagen airport said, “It is the police and the Danish health authorities, that has the authority in the airport – also when it comes to passports and identification.”
In a letter sent to the Chinese embassy in Denmark, the stranded Chinese citizens demanded an official apology from the airport doctor with a refund of £440 for the PCR and IgM antibody tests that were carried out. They also requested to redo the tests for free with valid official reports to be provided.
The Chinese embassy brought supplies including toothbrushes, blankets, and face masks to the stranded students but many chose not to use the washbasin to minimise the chance of being infected with Covid. The negotiations between the multiple parties are still ongoing with the solution hanging in the air.
Neither the Chinese embassy nor the clinic airport doctor has responded to the request for comments by the time the article is published.