Myanmar students flown home from coronavirus-stricken Wuhan

  • World
  • Sunday, 02 Feb 2020

Medical staff wearing protective suits checking Myanmar students who were evacuated on a chartered flight from the Chinese city of Wuhan, at a hospital in Mandalay on Sunday (Feb 2). The death toll from China's coronavirus epidemic soared to 304 on Sunday. - AFP

YANGON (Reuters) - Dozens of Myanmar students were evacuated from the coronavirus-stricken Chinese city of Wuhan early Sunday, government officials said, the latest foreign nationals to be flown home from the region.

The group of 59 will be quarantined for 14 days in a hospital in Myanmar's second-largest city, Mandalay, Than Than Myint, a spokeswoman for the health ministry, told Reuters.

Four others stayed in Wuhan, she said.

"Two... had a high fever, so the Chinese government kept them in Wuhan," she said by phone.

A statement by the ministry of foreign affairs said that of the other two, one student who was due to fly home had already left Wuhan by other means and the other had "defied China’s immigration regulations" and could not leave.

The students had been holed up with dwindling food supplies in the city of 60 million, which is in virtual lockdown.

"Honestly, I have one big potato and three packs of instant noodles and some rice," Si Thu Tun, one of 60 students from Myanmar trapped in Wuhan, told online news outlet the Democratic Voice of Burma last week.

Myanmar has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which first emerged in China's central province of Hubei and has infected more than 14,000 people since, mostly in and around Hubei.

Authorities in Myanmar turned back a China Southern flight from Guangzhou on Friday after one passenger was found with flu symptoms similar to those of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

Myanmar cannot test for the virus in-country, and is sending samples from suspected patients to neighbouring Thailand, which takes about a week for results.

(Reporting by Thu Aung. Writing by Poppy McPherson. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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