Australia plans island quarantine as foreigners leave Wuhan

coronavirus

coronavirus

Hundreds of foreign nationals have been evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, as more deaths and cases were confirmed.
Australia plans to quarantine its 600 returning citizens for two weeks on Christmas Island – some 2,000km (1,200 miles) from the mainland. Japan, the US and the EU are also repatriating their citizens.
President Xi Jinping called the virus a “devil” but said China would defeat it. An expert from the Chinese National Health Commission (NHC) said it could take 10 more days for the outbreak to peak. The number of deaths from the virus has risen to 132 in China, the NHC said on Wednesday.
The virus is thought to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. It causes severe acute respiratory infection and there is no specific cure or vaccine.
Meanwhile, Starbucks has closed half of its Chinese outlets, as the economic impact continues to grow.
Australian evacuees will be held on Christmas Island for two weeks, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
The announcement sparked controversy as the island is best known as an immigration detention centre, which has been criticised for its conditions and alleged human rights violations.
Currently only housing one Sri Lankan family of four, the facility was built to accommodate more than 1,000 people.
New Zealand will cooperate with Canberra to bring its 53 citizens home alongside the Australian evacuees. Some 200 Japanese nationals have been flown from Wuhan and have landed at Tokyo’s Haneda airport.
Around 650 others said they wanted to be repatriated, and the Japanese government said new flights were being planned.
According to Japanese media, several of the returnees were suffering from fever or coughs. All will be taken taken to hospital, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms.
They will then be tested in a quarantine ward before they can go home, and will be told not to leave their houses until the results are known.

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