01/31/2020, 09.23
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Seoul, the first 368 South Koreans evacuated from Wuhan

About half of the citizens who applied for evacuation.  Internally displaced persons without symptoms will have to spend 14 days in isolation inside two public provincial structures.  The authorities confirm four other cases of contagion: 11 people are infected in the country.  Popular resistance to housing the sick in quarantine facilities.


Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The plane carrying 368 of the approximately 720 South Korean citizens whom the government is evacuating from the Chinese city of Wuhan, epicenter of a viral pneumonia epidemic, landed this morning in Seoul. 

The morning after the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of a global emergency, fears are growing in the country about the rapid spread of the virus - identified as "2019-nCoV".  South Korean health authorities confirmed four other cases of contagion, which bring the total number of infected people to 11 at national borders.

The plane carrying about half of the South Koreans who applied for evacuation landed at Gimpo International Airport, in the western part of Seoul, around 8 am.  By tonight, the government plans to send another aircraft to bring the remaining citizens home.  According to local sources, 369 passengers should have boarded the plane but one person was excluded at the last minute because he had a fever. 

Of those arriving in Gimpo, 18 showed symptoms of high body temperature when they underwent further health checks at the airport.  Part of the group was taken to hospitals designated by the state for more detailed examinations.  Internally displaced persons without symptoms will have to spend 14 days in isolation inside two public provincial structures.

Before boarding the Korean Air Boeing 747 at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, the passengers underwent rigorous quarantine checks which took longer than expected and caused a delay in departure. 

Meanwhile, preparations were underway to host IDPs in the two centers of Asan and Jincheon, both about 90km south of the capital.  Here the authorities had to tighten security measures to prevent residents' protests from disrupting operations.  After the government chose the two venues, the residents firmly opposed the decision, claiming that it came without their consent.  The situation became more tense yesterday, when Seoul broke the news of the first case of transmission of the virus between humans.

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