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Around 100 coronavirus evacuees arrive in Germany from China

German health minister calls for calm as Wuhan evacuees return

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Germany's Health Minister Jens Spahn warned against hysteria and hostility towards those in quarantine as more than 100 Germans return from Wuhan.

A plan carrying 102 German citizens and 26 foreign nationals evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, landed at Frankfurt Airport in Germany, AFP reported.

@Team_Luftwaffe: #coronavirus: Der #A310 der Flugbereitschaft ist sicher in Helsinki gelandet. Die Crew wird gewechselt und das Flugzeug für den Weiterflug nach Frankfurt betankt. @bundeswehrInfo @Bw_Einsatz #Team_Luftwaffe

The passengers will be examined at a specially-equipped facility at the airport before being quarantined for two weeks at a military base in Germersheim, near Stuttgart.

"I am most concerned about conspiracy theories of all sorts and that circulate in the social media, which only have one goal, to spread uncertainty," Spahn said.

Spahn added that none of those on board had any shown symptoms of the virus.

A German military aircraft carrying 128 evacuees from Wuhan landed at Frankfurt Airport on Saturday afternoon.

The flight suffered delays earlier in the day after it was blocked stopping in Russia for crew-change and refueling.

Moscow refused to allow the plane to land due to "lack of capacity" at the airport, and the Airbus A310 had to be diverted to Helsinki instead.

A Federal Ministry of Health official said the plane was carrying 110 German citizens, according to Germany's DPA press agency. Doctors were also on board to monitor the passengers.

The returnees are expected to be quarantined at an army barracks near Frankfurt airport. None of the German citizens who are to be repatriated are suspected of having contracted the virus, according to Germany's Foreign Ministry.

German Foreign Minister said the plane had delivered aid to Chinese authorities in Wuhan battling the outbreak, including 10,000 protective suits requested by China.

Germany has previously confirmed seven cases of the virus and has advised against nonessential travel to China.

As at Saturday 1st of February, Chinese coronavirus' death toll has surpassed 250 according to the government sources, foreign nations tightened restrictions on travellers from China in response to the rapid spread of the illness. 

The number of infections worldwide is nearing 12,000, with the vast majority of cases in China.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday declared the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency.


(AFP / DW)

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