U.S. preparing to evacuate their citizens from Chinese city amid deadly Coronavirus outbreak

China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities in Hubei province to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further.

Associated Press
January 28, 2020 - 10:53 am

BEIJING (KMOX/AP) — The United States and several other nations prepared Tuesday to airlift citizens out of a Chinese city at the center of a virus outbreak that has killed more than 100 people.

Hong Kong’s leader said it will cut all rail links to mainland China and halve the number of flights as authorities in China and overseas sought to stem the spread of the new virus. The number of confirmed cases rose to more than 4,500.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the U.S. has offered to send help to China from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a potentially very serious threat, but at this point Americans should not worry for their own safety," Azar said. "This is a very fast moving, constantly changing situation."

Azar and other officials provided an update on their response to the outbreak. You can watch the press conference live, here:

"More cooperation and transparency are the most important steps you can take toward a more effective response," Azar said.

The U.S. government chartered a plane to fly out diplomats from the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, where the outbreak started, and other Americans. The plane will make a refueling stop in Alaska before flying on to Ontario, California, the U.S. Embassy said.

A Japanese-chartered Boeing 767 departed for Wuhan to fly out its citizens, the first of two possible flights, and South Korea also said it will send a plane to the city in central China. France, Mongolia and other governments also planned evacuations.

China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities in Hubei province to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further. The lockdown has trapped more than 50 million people in the most far-reaching disease control measures ever imposed.