The European Union is dispatching two flights to evacuate at least 350 healthy European citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan as a deadly new flu spreads in the region
The Latest on the outbreak of a new virus from China that has sickened thousands of people and killed more than 100 (all times local):
The European Union is dispatching two flights to evacuate at least 350 healthy European citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan as a deadly new flu spreads in the region.
The 28-nation union activated a disaster-response mechanism to organize the flights at the request of France, which has a large number of citizens in the Wuhan region.
The initial flights will only carry healthy EU citizens or those without symptoms of the virus, the European Commission said in a statement Tuesday. It said the EU is ready to mobilize further flights in the coming days.
The first flight will carry about 250 French citizens. More than 100 other EU citizens will travel on the second flight. The EU will co-finance the flights.
France’s government had already announced that it would organize return flights for both healthy citizens and those with virus symptoms, and that it would hold them in quarantine for 14 days after their arrival in France.
The United States and several other nations are preparing to airlift citizens out of a Chinese city at the center of a virus outbreak that has killed more than 100 people.
Hong Kong’s leader says it will cut all rail links to mainland China and halve the number of flights, as authorities in China and overseas sought to stem the spread of the new virus. The number of confirmed cases has risen to more than 4,500.
The U.S. government chartered a plane to fly out diplomats from the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, where the outbreak started, and other Americans.
China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further.