Turkey set to send plane to evacuate people from China

Turkey set to send plane to evacuate people from China

Turkey set to send plane to evacuate people from China

A Turkish cargo plane is set to leave for China on Jan. 30 to airlift citizens of Turkey and other nearby countries from the city of Wuhan, the heart of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The cargo plane will leave Etimesgut Military Airport in the capital Ankara to evacuate 34 Turkish citizens as well as several Georgian, Azerbaijani and Albanian citizens.

The plane will airlift people stranded in Wuhan at their request to return to Turkey following detailed health exams under quarantine conditions.

The Turkish plane, at the initiative of the Health Ministry, will carry health personnel experienced with infectious diseases.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Jan. 29 said that the country is set to evacuate 32 of its citizens and their families from China’s Hubei State, primarily in Wuhan city, in the coming days.

“We are in contact with all of our citizens. We have 32 citizens in Wuhan. We had previously made official initiations [and now] started efforts to evacuate our 32 citizens. None of our citizens have been detected to have any connection with the virus,” Turkey’s Ambassador to China Emin Önen told private broadcaster NTV.

“We are organizing this with Chinese officials. Our citizens will arrive in Turkey with specialists via an air ambulance from Turkey,” he added.

The ambassador also said that some kind of quarantine will be implemented at first, although none of the Turkish citizens have been infected as far as officials know.

“A procedure will be implemented both for their and the country’s health. We have 6,000 citizens in China and are in contact with consulate generals,” he said.

He also added that the embassy has formed a chat group on a social media app of China in order to establish close contact with the citizens.

Turkish citizens who visited China for touristic or business purposes already established contact with the embassy, Önen said.

Turkish Airlines to reduce flights

Turkish Airlines announced on Jan. 30 it will decrease flight frequency to four Chinese destinations starting next week due to a significant decrease in demand.

The reduced demand comes amid the coronavirus outbreak, whose epicenter lies in Wuhan, China.

The move, set for the dates Feb. 5-29, includes the national carrier's scheduled flights to the capital Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Xian, Yahya Üstün, Turkish Airlines’ senior vice president for media relations, said on Twitter.

"Necessary assistance for your free ticket change, return, and date/route change requests will be provided through http://turkishairlines.com, our Call Centers or our Sales Offices," he added.