January 26, 2020 / 8:51 PM / 22 days ago

French citizens to be evacuated from Wuhan by airplane - minister

Workers in protective suits check the temperature of passengers arriving at the Xianning North Station on the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, in Xianning, a city bordering Wuhan to the north in Hubei province, China January 24, 2020. REUTERS/David Stanway

PARIS (Reuters) - French citizens will be evacuated from the Wuhan area in China that is the centre of a coronavirus outbreak, French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said on Sunday.

“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, adding that Chinese authorities had asked France to proceed in this way.

People who will be repatriated will have to spend 14 days in quarantine in a dedicated facility to avoid spreading the virus in France, Buzyn added.

She said that of the some 800 French citizens who live in the Wuhan area, France expects to repatriate up to a few hundred people.

“Some people want to come back but they do not want to be in a welcome area for 14 days so they will have to take into account this constraint,” she said.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq, editing by Louise Heavens

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