The United States is arranging a charter flight on Sunday (January 26) to bring its citizens and diplomats back from the Chinese city of Wuhan, epicentre of the outbreak of a new coronavirus, the US State Department said.
However, the officials warned that there would be limited space for private citizens. The flight will leave on Tuesday (January 28) from the city of Wuhan and take people to San Francisco, the department said in an email to Americans in China.
“This capacity is extremely limited and if there is insufficient ability to transport everyone who expresses interest, priority will be given to individuals at greater risk from coronavirus,” the department said.
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According to the Wall Street Journal, the plane seats around 230 people, and will include diplomats from the US consulate as well as Americans and their families. Those evacuated will be responsible for the cost.
Similarly, France plans to evacuate its citizens stuck in Hubei by bus.
The outbreak, which has killed 56 people and infected nearly 2,000 across China, is believed to have originated in a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan.
The city of 11 million people has been placed under effective quarantine for days, with a car traffic ban going into effect on Sunday.
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Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province. Transport restrictions have been expanded across the province, corralling some 56 million people in total.
(With inputs from agencies)