Koreans evacuated from Wuhan to be put into isolation

Jan 31, 2020, 09:01 am

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Korean Air's KE 9883 flight bound for the coronavirus-stricken Chinese city of Wuhan is waiting to take off at Incheon International Airport on Jan, 30, 2020./ Source: Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporters Lee Seok-jong & Yoon Seo-young

Some 350 Korean residents in the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan returned to South Korea Friday morning in a chartered plane sent by the government.

The evacuated people are put into isolation for at least 14 days at two different temporary facilities in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, and Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province. They are isolated in separate rooms and visitors are not allowed. 

The government is in talks with the Chinese government to bring back the rest of the people stuck in Wuhan.

The government held a comprehensive review meeting chaired by President Moon Jae-in to assess its response to the coronavirus outbreak and to discuss countermeasures at the government complex in Seoul on Thursday. 

Following the meeting, Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neung-hoo announced government measures to tackle the spread of the virus in a briefing. Under the plan, the government plans to increase the number of quarantine personnel, expand the workforce at the “1339” emergency call center to nearly 320 people, check all entrants from Wuhan, carry out quarantine test on those with suspicious symptoms, and more. 

On the evacuated people from Wuhan, the health minister said the government has decided to quarantine all the returnees despite their lack of suspicious symptoms in light of public anxiety. 

According to the health authorities, the returnees are assigned a single room at temporary accommodations. Children are allowed to stay with family members. 

The returnees are subject to health checks twice each day and will be immediately transferred to medical centers for treatment if they show any symptoms. 

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said Thursday that it has confirmed two additional coronavirus patients, making it six in total. The fifth confirmed patient is a 32-year-old Korean businessman who visited Wuhan and returned to Korea last Friday while the sixth confirmed patient is a 56-year-old Korean citizen who was in contact with the third confirmed patient, marking the country’s first case of local transmissions for the new coronavirus as the man did not travel to Wuhan.

The fifth patient is currently admitted at Seoul Medical Center, while the sixth patient is receiving treatment at Seoul National University Hospital.

The KCDC is currently conducting an epidemiological investigation on the two newly confirmed patients and is expected to release additional information as soon the investigation is complete.

The agency has confirmed that a total of 2,991 individuals who have flown from Wuhan are subject to investigation. They are 1,160 Koreans and 1,831 foreigners. Of the 1,160 Koreans, 75 have left, and 1,085 remain in Korea. Out of the 1,085 who are staying, the agency monitored 701 people and tested 10 of them who showed symptoms of the new coronavirus. Among 1,831 foreigners, 1,433 left Korea, and the agency is tracking down and investigating the other 398 who are currently staying in the country. 

#Wuhan #evacuation #chartered plane #KCDC #coronavirus 
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