Evacuation of Poles from coronavirus-hit Wuhan underway – dep min

Nearly 12,000 Chinese have fallen ill and close to 260 have died due to the coronavirus which causes pneumonia. YFC/PAP/EPA

An evacuation is in progress of those Poles who want to leave coronavirus-hit Wuhan in China, said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk on Saturday. The health ministry told PAP that the Poles would be transported “around Monday.”

Nearly 12,000 Chinese have fallen ill and close to 260 have died due to the coronavirus which causes pneumonia. Cases were also discovered in over a dozen countries, including Germany, France, Finland, the US, Canada, Russia and Great Britain. A dozen or so people with suspected coronavirus have been admitted to hospital in Poland and over 500 were under observation by its health services. Apart from China, there have been no reports of deaths in other countries.

"There is an evacuation in progress of those Poles who wish to leave the Wuhan region in China, due to the spread of coronavirus," Szynkowski vel Sęk told Radio ZET, a private radio broadcaster. He added, "The operation is underway. A total of 31 persons will be evacuated. All of them have been identified and taken care of, and they know where to report."

The deputy minister pointed out that were several Poles who decided to remain in Wuhan, in most cases, because of family ties to Chinese citizens. "And those citizens cannot leave the country, so the spouses have decided to stay. Polish consular services are at their disposal," he said.

The evacuation of Poles from China was being organized by the Polish consulate in cooperation with French and Chinese authorities. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is advising against trips not only to the Wuhan region, but also to China. LOT Polish Airlines has suspended all flights between Poland and China until February 9.