France to evacuate nationals from coronavirus-hit Wuhan


France will later this week begin airlifting its nationals from Wuhan, the locked-down Chinese city at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak where an estimated 500 French expatriates live, after reaching agreement for the evacuation with the Chinese authorities, health minister Agnès Buzyn has announced.

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French citizens will be evacuated from the Wuhan area in China that is the centre of a coronavirus outbreak, French health minister Agnès Buzyn announced late Sunday, reports FRANCE 24.

“French citizens will be repatriated by airplane directly to France, with the agreement of the Chinese authorities. This will take place midweek,” Buzyn told reporters.

Several other countries are planning for evacuations from Wuhan, which is under lockdown by the Chinese government in an attempt to halt the spread of the pneumonia-like virus that has killed 80 people and infected 2,750 people.

The US consulate in Wuhan announced it would evacuate its personnel and some private citizens aboard a charter flight on Tuesday.

French hospitals are treating three confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and more are likely, officials said. The confirmed cases are all Chinese citizens who recently returned from travels there.

French automaker PSA said Saturday it was evacuating its expatriate employees and their families from Wuhan and quarantining them in another city. It did not elaborate.

French medical teams on Sunday began meeting passengers arriving on flights from China at Paris's Charles de Gaulle and other airports, a new effort to catch possible cases early on.

France has decided not to take the temperatures of arriving passengers because it “provides a false sense of safety,” the health minister said. She said in each of France's three confirmed cases, they arrived without a fever.

See more of this report, with video, from FRANCE 24.


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