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(2nd LD) S. Korea in final talks with China to send 3rd evacuation plane to virus-hit Wuhan on Tuesday

All News 15:52 February 10, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 4-7)

SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is fine-tuning the details with China over its plan to send a third evacuation flight to the new coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan this week to bring back about 150 of its citizens and their Chinese family members, Seoul officials said Monday.

Seoul seeks to send the chartered flight to the epicenter of the virus on Tuesday after its two flights recently brought back a total of 701 nationals from the city amid growing fears over the spread of the deadly virus that has sickened 27 people in South Korea.

Under Seoul's current plan, the flight is to depart from Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Tuesday, and return to Gimpo International Airport in western Seoul, on Wednesday morning.

Upon their arrival, the evacuees are to be screened for possible infection and then be transported to temporary accommodation at a language instate of the Joint Forces Military University in Icheon, 80 kilometers south of Seoul, for 14 days, the virus' incubation period.

South Korean Ambassador to China Jang Ha-sung said in Beijing that the Chinese authorities gave the verbal approval for the evacuation flight over the weekend.

"Currently, we are waiting for the final notification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China regarding the details of the flight operation," he told reporters.

"We believe that that will come soon," he added.

Amid the mounting dread of the virus that emerged in the central Chinese city in December, Seoul has been stepping up quarantine efforts, as well as its diplomacy to ensure the safety of its citizens in Wuhan and its vicinity.

About 230 of South Korean citizens and their immediate family members, including those of Chinese descent, are currently in Wuhan.

According to Chinese authorities, the death toll of the virus has risen to 908 in China, with the total number of confirmed cases standing at 40,171.

South Korean officials hold a press briefing on Seoul's efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus and support citizens in the virus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan at the government complex in Sejong, 130 kilometers south of Seoul, on Feb. 10, 2020. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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