US to evacuate its citizens from China virus epicenter

A woman wears a mask as an employee works to prevent a new coronavirus at Suseo Station in Seoul, South Korea. (File photo: AP)

The United States is arranging a flight to evacuate personnel and American citizens trapped at the epicenter of a deadly virus in central China, the US State Department said on Sunday.

The flight will leave on Tuesday from the city of Wuhan and take people to San Francisco, the department said in an email to Americans in China, warning that there would be limited space for private citizens.

“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.

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.

Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province. Transport restrictions have been expanded across the province, corralling some 56 million people in total.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57