The Korea Herald


S. Korea's 2nd chartered plane carrying 333 citizens arrives in Seoul from virus-hit Wuhan

By Yonhap

Published : Feb. 1, 2020 - 12:21

    • Link copied

(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

South Korea's second chartered plane carrying 333 citizens from the 
coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan arrived in Seoul on Saturday, completing the evacuation mission to bring home about 700 nationals from the epicenter of the deadly illness.

The Korean Air plane touched down at Gimpo International Airport in western Seoul at around 8:15 a.m., a day after the first evacuation flight brought home 368 citizens from Wuhan.

Though they underwent quarantine checks at the airport in Wuhan, the evacuees went through another round of screenings upon arrival and then headed for a makeshift quarantine shelter in Asan, about 90 kilometers south of Seoul, where they will stay for at least two weeks.

The evacuees included one who missed the first evacuation flight due to signs of fever. The citizen was later categorized as having no symptoms and given the approval to board the second flight.

Seven of the evacuees showed some symptoms and were sent to a state hospital for additional checkups and treatment.

A South Korean citizen, airlifted from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan, rides in a bus bound for a quarantine facility in central South Korea on Feb. 1, 2020. (Yonhap)

Among the 368 people aboard the first evacuation flight, 18 were sent to hospitals after they showed signs of fever. Of them, 11 tested negative, while the others are awaiting the final results despite their initial negative test results.

South Korea initially planned to bring back 722 citizens from Wuhan and its vicinity. Some decided not to board the plane due apparently to their family members of Chinese nationality who Chinese authorities instructed to stay, while others could have missed the flight due to the citywide lockdown.

On Saturday, South Korea reported another confirmed case of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number to 12.

Since the virus first emerged in Wuhan, central China, in December, the death toll in China alone has risen to 259, AFP reported, citing data from China's National Health Commission. The number of infections in China stands at 11,791.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global emergency. The United States soon raised its travel advisory for China to the highest level, banning all travel to the country.

In Asan and Jincheon, where the evacuees are being quarantined, residents initially expressed anger at the government's decision to use their facilities.

They later relented, with some holding up handwritten banners in support of the evacuees. South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday expressed his gratitude on Twitter.

Common signs of infection include fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to WHO. (Yonhap)