The Latest: Australia and New Zealand to evacuate citizens

BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on the outbreak of a new virus from China:

11: 15 a.m.

Australia and New Zealand will work together to evacuate their isolated and vulnerable citizens from China’s virus-hit Hubei province.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday could not say how many or how soon citizens would be flown by Qantas from Hubei. The departures would be arranged in consultation with China.

The citizens would be sent for 14 days to a quarantine center on Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean which has been used to hold asylum seekers and foreign criminals facing deportation.

Australia and New Zealand have also ratcheted up their travel advice for China.

Australia has advised its citizens to reconsider their need to travel to China and not to travel to Hubei.

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New Zealand's government advised people to avoid all non-essential travel to China due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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10 a.m.

Two Japanese men evacuated from a virus-hit Chinese city say they felt relieved but also exhausted upon their arrival in Tokyo.

They were aboard a chartered flight Japan arranged to evacuate 206 Japanese citizens from Wuhan.

Takeo Aoyama who works for Nippon Steel Corp. and Takayuki Kato, who works for Intec, both wore masks but said they felt fine.

Kato said he was not panicking in Wuhan, but “I was shocked when all transportation systems were suspended. That’s when the situation drastically changed."

China cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities to try to contain the outbreak of the new type of coronavirus that has infected thousands of people.

Aoyama said many people who wish to go home to Japan are still in Wuhan, including workers at a Japanese supermarket chain staying open to supply food.

He said it is important to step up preventive measures in Japan, but “I hope we can also provide support for the Chinese people, which I think would also help the Japanese people who are still there.”

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