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Coronavirus (nCoV) | China promises to protect the safety of foreigners from the Wuhan virus

China Coronavirus (Matconlist) - Chinese government promise to protect the health of foreign nationals from the outbreak of pneumonia caused by coronavirus 2019-nCoV.

Outbreak of pneumonia, coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
Outbreak of pneumonia, coronavirus 2019-nCoV.

China promised "transparency" in the face of the epidemic of the new coronavirus 

The virus has already caused 131 deaths and more than 5,300 illnesses, while the first two planes with foreign citizens took off from Wuhan on Wednesday, heading to Japan and the United States.

Wuhan China, where Coronavirus first appeared. 

Japan was the first country to return its citizens, who number around 650 in the province. A plane with 200 of them arrived in Tokyo from Wuhan.

The United States also announced that a plane sent to Wuhan to evacuate its consulate staff in the city, as well as other American citizens, took off Wednesday morning.

Some 350 European citizens will return in two planes, the European Commission announced, assuring that the returnees are healthy or have no symptoms.

The number of victims has risen again. Hubei province recorded 25 new deaths and 840 new cases of infection, bringing the total to 131 deaths and more than 5,300 patients nationwide, local authorities said Wednesday.

"The epidemic is a demon and we cannot leave that demon hidden," said Chinese President Xi Jinping, alluding to the fact that the communist government was accused of hiding the previous coronavirus, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which caused hundreds of deaths in 2002 and 2003.

Hours later, the United States stepped up the pressure on Beijing. "Greater cooperation and transparency are the most important steps that can be taken towards a more effective response," Health Secretary Alex Azar told the press.

The first cases outside China of human-to-human transmission of the virus appeared Tuesday in Japan and Germany.

In Japan, a 60-year-old man who had never traveled to China but who was driving a group of tourists from Wuhan became ill.

On Tuesday night, three more cases of infection with the 2019-nCoV virus were announced in Bavaria, southern Germany. They are employees of the same company where the first case had been identified in the morning. 

The local health authorities had specified that this first patient had been infected by another person on German territory, representing the first transmission of the virus identified on European soil.

A health worker speaks by phone outside an isolation zone for patients with coronavirus symptoms in a public hospital in Mataram, Indonesia, on January 28, 2020.
A health worker outside an isolation zone for patients with coronavirus, public hospital in Mataram Indonesia, on January, 2020.

A dozen countries have been affected - with about 50 patients - in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia, but since the outbreak of viral pneumonia in December in Wuhan (central China), no human-to-human transmission had been recorded outside that country.

France also announced a fourth case, involving a Chinese tourist who is hospitalized in Paris.

"China will continue to protect the health and safety of all foreign citizens in the country, including South Korean nationals," the Chinese foreign minister said in a telephone conversation with his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-hwa.

The Seoul government plans to send two planes soon to evacuate some 700 South Koreans trapped in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the main focus of the disease.

The official also thanked South Korea for its help in dealing with the new coronavirus, which has caused more than 130 deaths in China since late December 2019.

"China will continue to strengthen cooperation with the international community with responsibility," Wang said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying promised assistance to countries seeking to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, a city quarantined because of the virus.

"China, in accordance with international practice and anti-epidemic regulations, will take appropriate measures and provide necessary assistance to countries that insist on evacuating their citizens from Wuhan," the senior official said in a statement.

Hua stressed that the health and safety of foreign citizens in Hubei province, to which Wuhan belongs, is very important to her country.

The Chinese authorities, she said, will continue to take effective measures and address the concerns of foreigners.

"The epidemic can be controlled, its spread can be prevented and the disease can be cured, so China is taking a series of drastic measures to prevent the spread of the epidemic," the diplomat said.

Hua recalled that World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during his recent trip to China, highly evaluated the political firmness and effective measures of the authorities to control the epidemic.

"Ghebreyesus stressed that WHO has full confidence in China's ability to tackle the epidemic," the diplomatic spokesman said.

China promises transparency in coronavirus crisis and Japan and the US evacuate their citizens

Zhong Nanshan, a well-known scientist from the National Health Commission of China, considered that the epidemic should reach a peak in a week or about ten days.

The United States said it's trying to develop a vaccine, but acknowledged that the epidemic could slow before it's ready, as was the case during the SARS epidemic.

Almost the entire province of Hubei, whose capital is Wuhan, is cut off from the world by order of the authorities in an attempt to curb the epidemic. Some 56 million people live in confinement.

A quarantine that surprised thousands of foreigners in the region.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which considers the threat "high" at the international level, announced the dispatch "as soon as possible" of international experts to China to share information about the virus and provide a "global response.

Many foreigners living in Wuhan, who had no guarantee that they would leave, were very distressed: "It is extremely stressful. The main fear is that this will last for months," Joseph Pacey, a 31-year-old British teacher, told AFP.