More Europeans flee China virus as plane lands in France

A second French-chartered plane carrying 300 evacuees from China flew to France on Sunday as more foreigners fled China's rapidly spreading virus.

The Airbus A380 landed at the military base of Istres in the southern French region of Bouches-du-Rhone. A first French plane landed Friday.

Officials said that when this latest flight left the central Chinese city of Wuhan, none of the passengers had symptoms of coronavirus. They include French, Belgians, Dutch, Danes, Czechs, Slovaks and some citizens of African countries.

Authorities said the plane would drop off most of its passengers at Istres before leaving for Belgium with several dozen people from northern Europe. Authorities haven't said if the travelers arriving at Istres will be put into quarantine.

Of the 180 French people who were flown back from Wuhan on Friday, one showed symptoms of being infected with the virus and was sent to a Marseille hospital for testing, French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said.

The other passengers were being quarantined for 14 days at a large, isolated Mediterranean resort not far from Marseille near Carry-le-Rouet.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that two people who were flown back to Germany on Saturday were found to be infected with the virus. That brought the total of cases in Germany to 10. Spahn said the two had been symptom-free when they left Wuhan and when they arrived in Frankfurt, and that they were “doing well at the moment” in quarantine at a Frankfurt hospital.

Europe has 25 reported cases of people who have been infected with the virus that emerged from Wuhan: Germany has 10; France has six; Russia, Italy and the U.K have two each and Finland, Sweden and Spain each have one.

The Italian foreign ministry said permission had been given for cargo flights to fly between Italy and China.

Separately, the special commissioner in charge of coordinating Italy's efforts during the viral outbreak said consideration was being given to letting a handful of Chinese commercial airliners fly to Italy to pick up Chinese tourists and other Chinese citizens stranded in Italy by the suspension of commercial flights.

The commissioner, Angelo Borrelli, was quoted by Italian media as saying that Italy would like those flights, if approved, not to fly to Italy empty, but instead to bring back Italians from China. There are an estimated 500 other Italians in China who have apparently expressed an interest in returning home during the outbreak, but nothing firm had been decided on those flight possibilities.

Meanwhile, an estimated 3,000 tourists and others from China are stranded in Italy and want to return to home, according to Italian media.

The death toll in China climbed Sunday to 304 and the number of infections rose to 14,380. In addition, the Philippines on Sunday reported the first death from the virus outside of China.

On Saturday night, a Turkish military transport plane carrying 42 people arrived in Ankara from Wutan. The 32 Turkish, six Azerbaijani, three Georgian and one Albanian nationals will remain under observation in a hospital for 14 days, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Twenty Turkish personnel who participated in the evacuation will also be kept in quarantine.

The Egyptian government said 306 of its nationals would return home from Wuhan on a chartered plane later Sunday and will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. The online news outlet Masrawy reported that authorities prepared a hotel in the northwestern city of Marsa Matrouh where the returnees would be quarantined.

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