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China to bring overseas #Wuhan citizens back to city: state media

Chinese President Xi Jinping
The Chinese government is to send charter planes to bring citizens from virus-hit Hubei province who are overseas back "as soon as possible", the foreign ministry said.

This is in view of "practical difficulties that Hubei citizens, especially those from Wuhan, have faced overseas", said ministry of foreign affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunyin.

Chinese civil aviation authority announced that it will dispatch two Xiamen Airlines planes to fly Wuhan citizens back from Bangkok, Thailand and Malaysia, according to the newspaper, People's Daily.

China's foreign ministry announced the decision earlier in the day in view of "practical difficulties that Hubei citizens, especially those from Wuhan, have faced overseas".

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China has the confidence and capability to win the war against the new coronavirus, said the country's foreign ministry spokeswoman in responding to WHO's decision to declare the virus outbreak in China as a global emergency.

Hua Chunying, the ministry spokeswoman, also said China will continue to work with the WHO and other countries to maintain global and regional public health security.

On Thursday, the global health body declared the virus a global emergency but commended the Chinese authorities for the proactiveness employed in containing and combating the mysterious killer virus, urged more collaborations withe the WHO and other countries to curb the spread of the infection.

Countries including United States, Japan, Britain, Canada, France, Turkey among others have been evacuating their citizens from the China-hit virus.

Turkey's health minister has said 34 Turkish citizens and several others will be airlifted from Wuhan.

The others include 7 Azeris, 7 Georgians and 1 Albanian. It is not clear when the evacuation might take place.

For the UK confirmed that a plane carrying 83 British and 27 foreign nationals has flown out from Wuhan.

The civilian aircraft chartered by the Foreign Office left the city at 09:45 local time (0145 GMT) and is due to arrive in the UK at 1300GMT before going to Spain, where the home countries of European Union citizens will take responsibility for the remaining passengers.

"We know how distressing the situation has been for those waiting to leave," UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, according to a notice on the government's website. "We have been working round the clock to clear the way for a safe departure."

Other countries across the world are also advising their citizens to suspend travlling to China for now as many airlines are also suspending their flights from to and fro China.

Africa's Kenya Airways has suspended all flights to and from China until further notice.

Vietnamese carrier Vietjet will suspend all flights to and from China from February 1, the company said.

"Vietjet has already planned to suspend all of its flights to China," it said in a statement. "The suspension is effective from February 1."

Death toll in China from the new coronavirus rose to 213 on Friday with at least 9,692 people confirmed to have the infection which has spread from Wuhan's Hubei province to every one of China's 31 provinces.

Authorities confirmed that another 102,000 people were also reportedly under medical observation with possible symptoms of the respiratory ailment.

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