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BEIJING, Jan 29 — Countries around the world are planning to evacuate diplomatic staff and citizens from Chinese areas hit by the new coronavirus, which is spreading quickly.
Wuhan, a city of 11 million in the province of Hubei and the epicentre of the outbreak, is in virtual lockdown and much of Hubei, home to nearly 60 million people, is under some kind of travel curb.
Following are some countries' evacuation plans, and how they are planning to manage the health risk from those who are returning.
France's first plane to repatriate nationals from Wuhan will leave Paris today and return the next day. The flight will carry people with no symptoms, junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebarri told television channel CNews.
“These people will be put under quarantine. And then there will be a second flight, at a yet undefined date, with people showing symptoms ... who will be cared for in Paris,” he said.
South Korea plans to send charter flights this week to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said yesterday. The planes will arrive as early tomorrow, he told a ministerial meeting aimed at discussing efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
The first chartered flight carrying 206 Japanese nationals evacuated from Wuhan arrived in Tokyo — four of them showing symptoms of fever or coughing. Japan has confirmed seven patients, including a Japanese tour bus driver who had been infected after coming into contact with Chinese visitors.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the passengers evacuated with symptoms would undergo medical examinations at a hospital designated for infectious diseases, while the remaining passengers would be asked to return home or stay at a nearby hotel after a check-up at a separate hospital.
- Kazakhstan has asked Beijing to allow 98 Kazakh students to leave the city of Wuhan, deputy foreign minister Shukhrat Nuryshev said.
- Germany will evacuate 90 citizens living in China's Wuhan region.
- Morocco will evacuate 100 citizens, mostly students, from the Wuhan area.
- Spain's government is working with China and the European Union to repatriate Spanish nationals from the Wuhan area, Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said.
- The United States evacuated 220 citizens from Wuhan including 50 diplomats and contractors, a diplomatic source said.
- Britain is talking to international partners to find solutions to help British and other foreign nationals leave Wuhan, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
- Canada has about 167 nationals in the Wuhan area, Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said, and eight people have sought consular assistance, which is being provided. While the minister did not rule out evacuations, he did not indicate there were any planned, adding that each consular request would be evaluated on a case by case basis.
- Russia has been in talks with China about evacuating its nationals from Wuhan and Hubei province, Russia's embassy said.
- The Dutch government is assessing ways to evacuate 20 Dutch citizens from Wuhan, press agency ANP reported.
- Authorities in Myanmar said they had cancelled a planned evacuation of 60 students studying in Wuhan. Kyaw Yin Myint, a spokesman for the Mandalay municipal government, told Reuters a final decision had been made to send them back after 14 days, the incubation period of the virus, had passed.
- Australia will help some citizens leave Hubei and quarantine them on Christmas Island, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. He did not say how many of the 600 Australians registered in the Hubei region could be helped, adding Australia would also be working to help New Zealand and Pacific island citizens in Hubei. — Reuters
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