Turkish plane en route to China to airlift citizens
A Turkish cargo plane departed to airlift the citizens of Turkey and other nearby countries from Wuhan, China, Jan. 31, 2020. (AA Photo)
The plane departed on Jan. 31 at 12 p.m. local time (0900GMT) to airlift the citizens of Turkey and other nearby countries from Wuhan.
The Turkish plane, at the initiative of the Health Ministry, will evacuate 34 Turkish citizens as well as seven nationals of Georgia, seven Azerbaijanis, and one Albanian.
The plane also carries healthcare personnel experienced in infectious diseases.
The stranded people in Wuhan will be brought to Turkey following careful health exams under quarantine conditions.
The coronavirus has killed at least 213 people in China, with nearly 10,000 infected. More than 80,000 people have come under medical observation.
Since its outbreak late last year, China has put Wuhan under lockdown in a bid to contain the virus and is building a 1,000-bed hospital in the city to treat those affected by the outbreak.
Beyond China, the virus has spread to several other countries such as Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, France, Vietnam, and Canada.
Travelers from China are being screened for the virus at airports worldwide. Several airlines have suspended flights to Wuhan.
The World Health Organization called an emergency meeting Thursday and declared the outbreak an international emergency.
No cases of coronavirus have been found so far in Turkey, the country's health minister said on Jan. 31.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Turkish citizens set to come home from the Chinese city of Wuhan on the Turkish cargo plane have not been diagnosed with the coronavirus.