26 January 2020
Shanghai/Tokyo: Washington and Tokyo are chalking out plans to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed 56 lives so far, a media report said.
A statement posted on the website of US Embassy in China on Sunday confirmed the plan to evacuate diplomats and US citizens in Wuhan.
The State Department is making arrangements to relocate its personnel stationed at the US Consulate General in Wuhan to the United States, it added.
An evacuation flight from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport to San Francisco will depart on Tuesday, Nikkei Asian Review reported.
The statement said the flight was limited to private US citizens, and that "if there is insufficient ability to transport everyone who expresses interest, priority will be given to individuals at greater risk from coronavirus."
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also said on Sunday that after his government finishes talks with Chinese authorities, it will bring back "all [Japanese citizens] that wish to return, and is looking at all possible means, such as chartered flights."
Abe said that the government has been asking Japanese residents in Wuhan if they want to leave the city. More than 700 Japanese nationals reside in Wuhan, according to Japan's foreign ministry.
The government is also considering evacuation by road from Hubei Province, and have Japanese nationals take flights home from other places, according to sources.
The Chinese government said on Sunday the death toll in the country from the coronavirus rose to 56 from 41 a day earlier, with 1,975 cases confirmed.