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Italy to airlift its citizens from China’s Coronavirus hit Wuhan

ROME: The Italian government is organising a flight to the Chinese city of Wuhan – epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak – to repatriate Italians stranded there, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The aircraft, operated by the Interforce Summit Operations Command, will depart from Italy on Thursday once the flight receives “the necessary Chinese authorisations” said the statement.

Specialist medical personnel, nurses and medical equipment will be on board the direct flight to Wuhan to ensure the Italians are transported back to Italy “safely”, the statement said.

Upon their arrival in Italy, the Italian citizens airlifted from Wuhan “will follow a health protocol defined by the Ministry of Health,” the statement added.

The flight is being organised by the Italian Foreign Ministry’s crisis unit, in close coordination with the Defence and Health ministries and Italy’s National Institute for Infectious Diseases ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’, according to the statement.

The previously unknown, pneumonia-like virus has killed at least 132 people, infected thousands in China since mid-December and cases have been confirmed in 18 places outside China.