Japanese nationals return from virus-hit Wuhan on charter jet

29, Jan. 2020

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BEIJING, Kyodo - A charter jet carrying about 200 Japanese nationals from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of a deadly virus outbreak, arrived in Tokyo Wednesday morning.

Medical personnel traveled on board to check on passengers who are being asked to stay at home for two weeks and be on the lookout for symptoms.

None of the passengers is infected with the new pneumonia-causing coronavirus, according to the Foreign Ministry.

As of Tuesday morning, there were about 650 Japanese nationals who had requested evacuation from Wuhan, where the virus was first identified.

A second charter flight for Japanese nationals may leave Japan around 8 p.m. Wednesday, a government official said, and further flights are expected to be arranged.

The virus has already claimed at least 131 lives and infected more than 5,000 people in China while also spreading globally, with cases confirmed in Japan, the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

China has imposed a virtual lockdown on Wuhan and other cities in Hubei Province in an effort to contain the outbreak during the Lunar New Year holiday.

The plane carrying the first Japanese evacuees left Japan on Tuesday night, also delivering masks and protective suits requested by China.

Many other countries are trying to evacuate citizens from Wuhan. The United States sent a plane to the Chinese city on Tuesday to evacuate diplomats and citizens, with South Korea saying it will do the same on Thursday and Friday. (Kyodo)