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Countries prepare to evacuate citizens from Wuhan due to spread of coronavirus

Cathay Pacific says it will allow passengers flying to or from any mainland China airport to rebook, re-route or take a refund on any type of ticket booked up to the end of February. Photo: Bloomberg. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

MOSCOW, Jan 28, 2020, TASS. The US and Japan plan to begin evacuation of their citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan, which was sealed off due to the spread of a new type of coronavirus. According to recent data, 4,547 people have been infected with the virus, with 106 people dead, TASS reported.

Several countries are also considering the possibility of evacuating their citizens from closed-off areas, including Spain, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Pakistan, and South Korea; however, they are waiting for the approval of the Chinese government. The US Embassy in Beijing informed that it would be impossible to evacuate all American citizens from Wuhan, and that a special flight from Wuhan to Ontario would be able to transport only employees of the US Consulate General in Wuhan and private citizens under the highest risk of becoming infected. Japan plans to send a charter flight to Wuhan on Tuesday evening to evacuate 200 citizens, while 650 Japanese residents have expressed the wish to leave the city.

For its part, the Russian embassy informed that the Chinese government had made no decision so far on evacuating Russian citizens from the Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. “The Russian embassy maintains contact with China, discussing the possibility and the procedure of evacuating our compatriots from the territory of the province. According to our information, no decision has been made currently regarding the exit of foreign citizens from the region,” the embassy stated.

The Russian diplomatic mission added that China is ready to provide food and basic necessities to those remaining in the Hubei province. “Foreign citizens are advised to stay in their places of residence, closely adhering to all necessary prophylactic measures,” the message informs. It was reported earlier that there are about 140 Russians currently staying in Wuhan, including 75 students.

On December 31, 2019, Chinese authorities informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of an unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan – a large trade and industrial center in central China populated by 11 million people. On January 7, Chinese experts identified the infecting agent: coronavirus 2019-nCoV.

In the past 24 hours, there has been a sharp rise in the number of people infected with the new type of coronavirus originating from China’s Wuhan. The virus continues to spread in China and other states, including Australia, Canada, Vietnam, Germany, Cambodia, Malaysia, Nepal, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the USA, Thailand, France, Sri Lanka and Japan. The WHO recognized the pneumonia outbreak in China as a national emergency but stopped short of declaring an international one.

Russian companies are cancelling flights to the most popular tourist destinations in China, including Hainan, while some carriers, such as Aeroflot and S7, are offering free refunds for tickets to China scheduled until late February. Russian tour operators are preparing to evacuate about 6-7,000 Russian tourists from China.

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