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S. Korea to use chartered flight to bring home about 80 citizens from coronavirus-hit Iran

All News 16:05 March 09, 2020

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to use a chartered flight to bring home about 80 citizens from Iran this week as the Middle Eastern country has seen a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases amid a shortage of medicine and protective gear, a foreign ministry official said Monday.

Among about 220 South Koreans in Iran, some 80 citizens have applied to take the flight, the official said, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country reportedly exceeded 6,500, with nearly 200 deaths as of Sunday.

"We are making the preparations without a problem, such as the counting of those who want to take the flight and arranging the plane," the official told reporters.

Seoul has reportedly been mulling using a flight of a third country to take the citizens to a country near Iran, such as the United Arab Emirates or Qatar, from which a South Korean-flagged flight would carry them back home.

Those with dual citizenship would also be allowed to take the chartered flight, the official added.

Upon arrival, the evacuees would be sent to temporary accommodations, where they would stay for about two days for coronavirus tests. Should they test negative, they will be asked to self-isolate at their homes, the official said.

As Iran has suffered shortages of medicine, medical equipment and other commodities due to biting international sanctions, Seoul has been considering how to secure the safety of its citizens in the country.

S. Korea to use chartered flight to bring home about 80 citizens from coronavirus-hit Iran - 1

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