Seven hundred people airlifted from China’s coronavirus-hit Wuhan were released from two weeks of isolation over the weekend.
On Sunday, 334 people left the quarantine facility in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, after testing negative for COVID-19. They had stayed in solitary units for 14 days -- the virus’s assumed maximum incubation period -- since arriving here Feb. 1 in the second evacuation from the city in Hubei province.
Another 366 people, brought here Jan. 31 in the first evacuation, left their temporary shelters in Asan and in Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province, Saturday after being declared free of the virus.
Interior and Safety Minister Chin Young, South Chungcheong Province Gov. Yang Seung-jo and other government officials sent off the Wuhan evacuees.
Chin expressed appreciation to the evacuees for cooperating with the government’s measures despite the inconvenience.
“We were able to have a period of coexistence and harmony, not anxiety and tension, because citizens of Asan and South Chungcheong Province welcomed you with warm hearts, and the people (from Wuhan) also showed gratitude toward them,” Chin said.
Residents of Asan, who initially protested the government’s decision to accommodate the Wuhan evacuees in the city, came to the facility to bid farewell.
The evacuees split into groups headed to bus terminals and train stations in five areas -- Seoul, Gyeonggi Province, Daejeon, Daegu and South Chungcheong Province -- via 17 buses arranged by the government.
On Saturday, the first group of evacuees was released from the quarantine facility in Asan and Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province.
Of the 701 evacuees from Wuhan, two had already checked out after testing positive. The remaining 699 people and a man who voluntarily entered the facility to take care of his children have completed the two-week isolation period and tested negative for the virus in a final diagnostic exam.
After the release, the government plans to contact evacuees who have agreed to receive calls two or three times via phone, to check on their health condition.
Each person can decide whether to return to China free from the government’s restrictions or rules. There will be no additional support for those who do not have a place to stay.
A total of 111 government workers dispatched to the sites in Asan and Jincheon were sent home Sunday or will be sent home Monday after disinfecting buildings and disposing of garbage.
With the departure of the 700 people, the number of Wuhan evacuees quarantined here stands at 148. They arrived Feb. 12 and are staying at a facility in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province. No cases had been confirmed at the site as of Sunday.
By Park Han-na (email@example.com