Japan will evacuate “by every means” its nationals who are in Wuhan City, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus in China’s Hubei province.
This was announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday night, January 26, saying his government was “coordinating with the Chinese government at various levels” to swiftly make this possible, even if it involves arranging a “chartered flight.”
The Japanese government said there were 710 Japanese nationals in Wuhan as of Friday, January 24. Agence France-Presse reported that a foreign ministry official told them that 430 Japanese were in the province of Hubei.
Wuhan, with a population of 11 million, was the first city in China to be locked down in an attempt to contain the deadly virus, whose characteristics scientists and doctors around the world are collaborating to understand.
Various reports said 18 cities in Hubei are now on lockdown, effectively implementing travel restrictions on 56 million people.
“We have decided to send back all Japanese citizens in Wuhan to Japan if they wish so, by every means, including a chartered flight,” Abe said in a press briefing in Tokyo Sunday.
The virus has infected more than 2,000 people globally so far and killed 56 in China since the outbreak started in Wuhan.
As of Sunday, Japan has reported four cases of infection since the outbreak in China. All cases involve persons who have traveled from Wuhan, either as returning residents or as tourists.
Agence France-Presse reported that some 160 Japan-linked companies have offices in Wuhan.
Author: JAPAN Forward