Burma

China Nixes Myanmar’s Plan to Evacuate 60 Students From Virus-Hit Wuhan

By The Irrawaddy 28 January 2020

YANGON—It is not currently possible to evacuate 60 Myanmar students from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China’s Hubei Province, as planned by the Myanmar government, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The Myanmar Embassy in Beijing announced on Sunday that the students’ request to return to Myanmar had been granted. It planned to evacuate them by bus to Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, which is 350 kilometers from Wuhan and outside an exclusion zone in which local governments are trying to halt the spread of the contagious disease.

However, it was announced at a special briefing on the outbreak of the virus held at the Chinese Foreign Ministry that the evacuation of foreigners living in Wuhan via neighboring provinces would be “very difficult.”

“They [Chinese officials] don’t expect to arrange it,” the Myanmar Embassy in Beijing said in a statement on Monday. It quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry officials at the briefing as saying that universities and schools in the affected areas are providing emergency health services and food.

The officials said no country had arranged charter flights to evacuate their citizens, and insisted the situation was not yet so grave as to warrant such action.

The embassy urged students in Wuhan not to panic and to strictly follow the preventive measures against the virus announced by local authorities.

China said on Tuesday that 106 people had died from the new coronavirus that is spreading across the country, up from the previous toll of 81, Reuters reported.

The number of total confirmed cases in China rose to 4,515 as of Jan. 27, the country’s National Health Commission said in a statement, up from 2,835 reported a day earlier.

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