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(2nd LD) Some 100 S. Koreans return home from coronavirus-hit Morocco

All News 15:45 April 03, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 3-4, byline; CHANGES photo)
By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- About 100 South Koreans returned home from coronavirus-hit Morocco on Friday on a special flight that the North African nation arranged to transport medical items from South Korea.

Morocco had originally planned to send a cargo plane to South Korea to pick up the medical supplies related to COVID-19, but King Mohammed VI agreed to switch to a passenger jet at Seoul's request so as to help South Koreans in the country return home, officials said.

The Moroccan government instead flew a separate cargo plane along with the passenger jet for the shipment of the medical equipment, including diagnostic kits, ventilators and fever-detecting cameras, a foreign ministry official told reporters.

Both planes, one of which had 105 Koreans on board, including volunteers from the state aid agency KOICA, landed at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, around noon.

In recent phone talks between the top diplomats of the two countries, they agreed to use the special flights to bring the Koreans home and send the medical equipment to Morocco.

The passengers will undergo health screening upon arrival under toughened quarantine measures for all international arrivals. They are also required to self-isolate for two weeks.

Morocco has declared a health emergency and restricted the movement of people and vehicles to prevent the spread of the virus. It has reported more than 700 infections and at least 44 deaths.

More than 4,200 South Korean nationals have returned home from 31 countries amid the virus pandemic. About 500 Koreans returned from Italy earlier this week.

Medical supplies are loaded on to a Royal Air Maroc plane that earlier brought home 105 South Korean nationals from coronavirus-hit Morocco, in this photo provided by Seoul's foreign ministry on April 3, 2020. The North African country flew two planes to help the Koreans return home and pick up the medical equipment from South Korea. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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