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South Korea to evacuate citizens from Wuhan, China

South Korea to evacuate citizens from Wuhan, China
The death toll in China following the outbreak of a deadly coronavirus in Wuhan continues to climb as authorities scramble to contain the disease. File Photo by EPA-EFE

Jan. 27 (UPI) -- South Korea is to go ahead with a large-scale evacuation of South Korean citizens residing in Wuhan, China, where a deadly coronavirus outbreak has killed at least 81.

Seoul is to dispatch chartered planes by Thursday, at earliest, to pick up South Korean nationals from the Chinese city, where a population of 11 million people are unable to leave owing to a state-mandated shutdown. There are about 600 South Koreans in Wuhan.

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The flights are expected to cost about $255 for adults, $191 for children ages 2 to 11, and $25 for infants under 2, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Monday.

South Korea is restricting the evacuation to South Korean passport holders only; relatives or family members who are Chinese nationals are not eligible for evacuation, according to the report.

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Concerns are rising in South Korea the country could be heavily affected by the influx of Chinese tourists during a holiday week.

The country confirmed its fourth case, a 55-year-old South Korean national who recently returned from Wuhan, local television network KBS reported Monday.

The patient returned to Korea on Jan. 20 and checked into a hospital after experiencing symptoms of the common cold, according to the report.

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By Sunday, the illness showed more serious symptoms, including severe body aches. A third confirmed patient in South Korea is believed to have had contact with at least 74 people, but one suspected case among the group tested negative for the coronavirus, authorities say.

As South Korean facilities, including airports, step up disinfections to prevent the spread of the disease, virus fears could be growing in Greater China. Residents of Wuhan and Hubei Province are being targeted, according to Hong Kong-based news services.

Ming Pao and other papers reported mainland Chinese visitors from Wuhan and Hubei were ordered to leave the special administrative region of Macau, adjacent to Hong Kong, regardless of their health.

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There are about 1,390 people from Wuhan currently in Macau, according to reports.

Those who do not obey orders are to stay in government-specified quarantine facilities.

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