Turkey to evacuate citizens from China's Wuhan

Wed 29 Jan 2020 09:00 GMT | 13:00 Local Time

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Speaking to Turkish broadcaster NTV, Önen said all preparations were complete and that the evacuation would only include citizens in Wuhan, adding that no infected Turkish patients were reported so far.

"I want to clarify that there are no problems with the health of our citizens or with bringing back them to Turkey. No virus has been detected (among the evacuees). We are working in cooperation with Chinese authorities ... They will be brought back with ambulance airplanes or properly equipped aircraft," Önen said.

The ambassador also said that the evacuated citizens would be placed in temporary quarantine upon arrival as a precaution.

Other countries have also started evacuating their citizens Wednesday from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed 132 people and infected more than 6,000 on the mainland and abroad.

A Japanese flight carrying evacuees home included four people with coughs and fevers. The three men and one woman were taken to a Tokyo hospital on separate ambulances for treatment and further medical checks.

A plane carrying Americans who had been in Wuhan left for Anchorage, Alaska, where they will be rescreened for the virus. After departing Alaska, the plane is to fly to Ontario, California. U.S. hospitals are prepared to treat or quarantine people who may be infected.

Australia and New Zealand were the latest countries planning evacuations. Both countries also stepped up their travel advisories to China, as did Britain. In a statement Monday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry "highly recommended that our citizens do not travel to China unless it is necessary, and if they travel there, they should stay away from the regions with the virus, especially in Hubei province."

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