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While other countries evacuate citizens from Wuhan, China is to bring over 200 people from Thailand, Malaysia back home

While other countries evacuate citizens from Wuhan, China is to bring over 200 people from Thailand, Malaysia back home
Despite the coronavirus outbreak, over 200 Chinese nationals in Southeast Asia are desperate to come home. China has sent planes to bring them back to Wuhan while other nations airlift their citizens out of the quarantined city.

Ever since the Wuhan cordon sanitaire began on January 23, tourists from Hubei province have been stuck in nearby Southeast Asian countries, unable to get back home. Malaysia banned visitors from Wuhan on January 27, but those who were in the country already still remain.

Thailand has not shut its borders yet, but that’s of little help to the tourists: Wuhan is closed off from the world, and no commercial flights can get there.

As their visas are set to expire (ThailandMalaysia), Chinese nationals are finding themselves in limbo. But China is now bringing them back. The Civil Aviation Administration of China says there are 117 nationals from Hubei in Bangkok, Thailand, and 100 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The CAAC has charted two Xiamen airlines flights to come pick them up as soon as possible. 

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This is a part of a wider push by Beijing to bring Wuhan citizens abroad back home due to “the practical difficulties that Chinese citizens from Hubei, especially Wuhan, have faced overseas,” according to China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. 

Some Chinese airline crews have already volunteered to help out their stranded countrymen. For example, Juneyao flight HO1340 from Osaka to Shanghai, rerouted to Wuhan on January 29 to drop off 94 passengers along with 19 boxes of protective outfits and masks. The flight crew agreed to a two-week quarantine after their heart-warming display of solidarity. 

At the same time, other countries have been working hard to evacuate their citizens from the quarantined city, with the US, UK, Japan, India, and others sending civilian aircraft with China’s approval. So far, hundreds have been airlifted from Wuhan and placed under quarantine at home. 

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