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Turkish plane leaves Mongolia with evacuees

Turkish cargo plane en route to Turkey to bring citizens from Wuhan, China, takes off from Mongolia after its refueling

Faruk Zorlu,Ali Murat Alhas   | 01.02.2020
Turkish plane leaves Mongolia with evacuees


ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia  

A Turkish cargo plane, en route to Turkey to evacuate Turkish citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, took off from Mongolia’s capital on Saturday after around two-hours replenishing.

The Turkish Armed Forces’ A400M type cargo plane departed from Wuhan on Saturday airlifting 42 people with 32 Turkish citizens, along with the citizens of Azerbaijan, Albania, and Georgia.

Passengers' health conditions are good and their oxygen levels, as well as body temperature, are normal, the officials told Anadolu Agency reporter on board.

With 11 military personnel, six health employees, two press members and one Foreign Ministry representative on board, the plane landed in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital at 3 p.m. local time (0700GMT), to replenish its fuel storage.

During the refueling, the passengers went through medical examinations.

-'No cases of coronavirus found so far in Turkey'

Speaking at a news conference after the fifth meeting of a scientific committee on the virus, Fahrettin Koca said no sign of any medical problem in 42 passengers evacuated from Wuhan is found.

The plane is planned to arrive in the capital Ankara at 8 p.m. local time (1700GMT), Koca underlined. 

After landing, passengers on board will be transferred to Zekai Tahir Burak Hospital in Ankara, he added. 

Evacuees will be quarantined for 14 days in single rooms in line with a coronavirus incubation period.

No cases of coronavirus have been found so far in Turkey, the minister reiterated.

The plane also delivered medical equipment -- dispatched by Turkey’s state-run aid and development agency (TIKA) and Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) -- to China.

The coronavirus, so named because under the microscope it resembles a crown, has killed at least 259 people in China, with nearly 12,000 infected. More than 118,000 people are under medical observation.

Since its outbreak late last year, China has put Wuhan under lockdown in a bid to contain the virus and is building a 1,000-bed hospital to treat those affected.

Beyond China, the virus has spread to Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, France, Vietnam, and Canada.

Travelers from China are being screened for the virus at airports worldwide. Several airlines have suspended flights to Wuhan.


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