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(LEAD) S. Korea's 3rd evacuation plane departs Wuhan with some 140 people aboard

All News 05:11 February 12, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with details from 5th para)

SEOUL, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- A third government-chartered plane left the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan Wednesday with some 140 South Koreans and their Chinese family members aboard.

Of the total, about 60 passengers are Chinese nationals who are married to or an immediate family member of a South Korean.

More than 170 people had requested to board the flight, and it was not immediately clear why the number dropped. Possible reasons include failure to pass Chinese quarantine measures or a lack of documents proving family relations.

The plane is expected to land at Seoul's Gimpo International Airport around 6:30 a.m.

A third government-chartered plane leaves for Wuhan, China, from Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Feb. 11, 2020. (Yonhap)

Last month, South Korea brought back 701 citizens from Wuhan on two evacuation flights. Back then, the Chinese government did not allow its citizens to travel with their South Korean family members, but Beijing has since reversed its position.

Upon arrival, the evacuees are to undergo the South Korean government's quarantine procedures. If they show no symptoms of the coronavirus, they will be transported to a facility belonging to the Joint Forces Military University in Icheon, 80 kilometers south of Seoul, where they will remain for at least 14 days, the virus' incubation period.

An estimated 100 or so South Koreans remain in Wuhan, but are unable to leave because of work and other commitments.

The government may decide to send an additional evacuation flight depending on how the viral contagion unfolds.

More than two dozen people in South Korea have been confirmed infected. There have been no fatalities.

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