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Ukrainian Evacuation Flight Lands In China; Kyiv Not Naming Quarantine Site

By RFE/RL February 19, 2020

A plane chartered by the Ukrainian government has landed in China to evacuate 87 people, including 48 citizens, from the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, said Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine's national security chief.

Operated by SkyUp airlines, the Boeing 737-700 aircraft took off from Kyiv earlier on February 19.

"I'm sure the [return] flight will be comfortable and calm. We look forward to receiving [the passengers] on our native land," Danilov said on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Beijing has reported 2,004 total fatalities from the COVID-19 virus, up 136 from the previous day. The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far is 74,185, with around 700 cases in other countries around the world.

Flight data from the carrier shows the plane is scheduled to arrive back in Kyiv on February 20 at 8:05 a.m.

Danilov said 29 foreign nationals are also expected to be evacuated. Nationals of Israel, Norway, Montenegro, Argentina, Panama, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Spain are among the foreigners, the Health Ministry said earlier.

Upon their arrival, Ukraine is looking to house them under quarantine for 14 days at one or more of four sites, depending on the ultimate size of the group that arrives.

However, the potential sites weren't disclosed "due to safety concerns," Health Minister Zoryana Skaletska told journalists in Kyiv on February 18.

Some two dozen people on February 18 protested at a sanatorium in the western Ternopil region over concerns that the evacuated people would be placed there.

Earlier, online flight data from SkyUp showed that the chartered plane was scheduled to land in Lviv in western Ukraine.

Outside China, five fatalities and 827 cases have been reported in 30 locations so far, with more than half of those infected on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan.

Two Russian women were among the 542 passengers who were allowed to disembark the Diamond Princess vessel on February 19 after testing negative for the pathogen.

Beyond China, the cruise ship is the largest cluster of infections and there are at least 524 cases among the 3,700 who have been on board.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against a global overreaction to the epidemic following panic-buying, event cancellations, and concerns about cruise ship travel.

"Measures should be taken proportional to the situation. Blanket measures may not help," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.

With reporting by AP, Hromadske, and Censor.net

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-s-evacuation- flight-to-china-departs-officials-not-naming -quarantine-site/30442670.html

Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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