01/30/2020, 17.30
SOUTH KOREA
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Coronavirus, nobody wants South Koreans repatriated from Wuhan

Seoul is preparing to evacuate the first group of about 720 citizens from the epicenter of the emergency.  Officials and residents of Jincheon and Asan raise the barricades against their transfer to two public facilities.  The total number of infected people in South Korea has reached six.

 

 

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Protests continue of officials and residents of two communities in the Chungcheong provinces, chosen by the government to welcome citizens repatriated from China, where a pneumonia epidemic broke out. 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in urges the country not to give in to the fear of the coronavirus, while Seoul prepares to evacuate the first group of about 720 citizens from the emergency epicenter - Wuhan, the capital of the province of Hubei.  The total number of infected people in South Korea has reached six.  This morning, the national health authorities confirmed two other cases of contagion, one of which is the first due to the transmission of the virus between humans.

The first of a maximum of four scheduled flights from Wuhan was expected to leave for South Korea this morning, but was delayed for unspecified reasons.  Nonetheless, departures are still expected by the end of the day.  "The weapons that will protect us from the new coronavirus are not fear and aversion, but trust and cooperation," Moon said today.  The president stressed that "fake news" creates excessive anxiety.  These statements are a clear reference to the opposition to some administration plans to contain the health crisis.

Charter aircraft carrying Korean citizens evacuated from Hubei are expected to arrive at Gimpo International Airport.  From the airport, the passengers will be transferred to two facilities: the National Institute for Human Resource Development in Jincheon in northern Chungcheong Province, and the Institute for Police Human Resource Development in Asan in Southern Chungcheong Province  .  The government initially chose Cheonan in southern Chungcheong province, but changed positions due to local resistance.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health and Social Security said it had chosen the structures of Jincheon and Asan to host the group of returnees in the next two weeks, when the monitoring operations will take place.  But municipal officials and residents took to the streets and blocked access to the two buildings with cars and tractors.  Moon now tries to reassure citizens, saying that the initial evacuates are only those who have no symptoms of pneumonia;  these will be kept in isolation.  "The government - says the president - will take strict measures to ensure that residents in the areas where the facilities are located do not have to worry".

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