World, Asia - Pacific

South Korea evacuates citizens from virus-hit China

Other governments abroad also continue efforts to bring their residents home

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 31.01.2020
South Korea evacuates citizens from virus-hit China

ANKARA

Hundreds of South Korean citizens are being flown to their home country as Wuhan, the Chinese city at the heart of the coronavirus outbreak, remains under lockdown.

On Friday, around 368 of over 700 South Koreans in the Chinese city were flown home and transported to two isolated health facilities near Seoul, according to Yonhap News Agency.

They will be placed in a two-week quarantine at Asan and Jincheon provincial public facilities – almost 55 miles from the capital – for testing and monitoring.

While one citizen stayed back after being found to have a fever, the number of South Koreans diagnosed with coronavirus has risen to 11, with 18 others having signs of pneumonia.

There had been opposition to the repatriations from residents fearing that the virus could spread. However, the stranded citizens were welcomed today.

Officials, meanwhile, plan to send a second chartered flight to bring back the remaining citizens.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus, which has so far claimed at least 213 lives in China, a global emergency as the outbreak continues to spread outside the mainland.

At least 90 cases have been confirmed in 18 other countries, but no deaths. Most international cases are in people who had been to Wuhan in Hubei.

Other governments abroad are also continuing efforts to bring their citizens home. Countries including the U.S., U.K., Japan and Canada, among others, have made preparations to organize the repatriation of their citizens from the city of 11 million people.

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