Taipei Times: Viral Outbreak: Taiwan to evacuate nationals

Taiwanese who have been stranded in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak, would soon be repatriated on a charter flight, the Mainland Affairs Council said yesterday, adding that it is facilitating the arrangement.

More than a dozen countries, including the US, the UK, France, Japan, Australia, India, Indonesia and South Korea, have evacuated or are planning to evacuate their citizens from China.

Taiwan had tried to arrange a charter flight to repatriate Taiwanese who have expressed a desire to return home, but Chinese authorities refused the request until yesterday.

A total of 503 Taiwanese are in Wuhan, 86 percent of whom are there for travel, business or to transfer flights, said Hsu Cheng-wen (徐正文), who represents a support group for Taiwanese who want to return home.

“Their biggest wish is to return to Taiwan,” Hsu said, adding that they are willing to be placed under quarantine after returning home, despite being in good health.

One of the two Taiwanese who was infected in Wuhan has been hospitalized, while the other’s situation is being investigated, Hsu added.

“Taiwanese who are confirmed to have 2019-nCoV will not be allowed to board the charter flight,” Chen said, adding that suspected cases would be separated from other passengers.

The timing of the evacuation is being negotiated between the Taiwanese and Chinese governments, he added.

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