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US government to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan amid coronavirus: report

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  • The US government will charter a plane on Sunday to evacuate US diplomats and US citizens from Wuhan amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal
  • The State Department had already ordered all non-emergency US personnel to evacuate last week, though the Chinese government issued a travel ban on the city the same day.
  • The 230 seats on the Boeing 767 aircraft will be offered to the around 1,000 US citizens in Wuhan.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The US government will reportedly evacuate its diplomats and citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan on Sunday amid the ongoing Coronavirus in the region that has infected nearly 1,300 people and left 41 dead.

According to a report on Saturday in The Wall Street Journal, the US government will offer the around 1,000 US citizens currently in Wuhan a seat on a chartered Boeing 767 plane, which has just 230 seats. 

The seats on the plane will be offered to US diplomats from the US consulate in addition to other US citizens and their families in the region. A person familiar with the plan told The Wall Street Journal that those who use the charter plane to evacuate from Wuhan will be expected to cover the cost of the flight.

The jet will reportedly be staffed with medical personnel in order to assist individuals who might be affected by the coronavirus. Seats will also be offered to some non-US citizens, like diplomats from other countries, should seats be available, WSJ said.

While the plane will fly directly from Wuhan to the US, it is unclear where exactly in the country the plane will land, according to The Wall Street Journal. Following days of negotiations, China reportedly agreed to the flight despite halting nearly all transportation in and out of Wuhan. The Chinese Foreign Ministry likely agreed because the plane would transport passengers, who could be affected by the virus, directly to the US and not another city in China, the WSJ said.

While similar evacuation efforts aren’t entirely uncommon following natural disasters and political unrest, the WSJ points out that the flight Sunday would be the first of its kind for the US in China. 

The US government also reportedly considered bussing diplomats and citizens to another city in China if it was unable to set up the charter flight. That plan would have been more similar to efforts in France to remove its citizens from Wuhan, according to the South China Morning Post.

On January 23 the State Department had already ordered all non-emergency US personnel to evacuate from Wuhan, the same day the Chinese government issued its Wuhan travel ban. 

Read more: 

The Wuhan coronavirus has killed 41 people and infected nearly 1,300. Here’s everything we know about the outbreak.

A 62-year-old Chinese doctor in Wuhan ‘at the front line’ of the coronavirus outbreak has died after treating patients

China has put 33 million people on lockdown because of the coronavirus outbreak. An urban planner says there’s no way to seal off a city.

Chinese people are turning on the government as the coronavirus outbreak spirals into the Lunar New Year

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