February 2, 2020 / 2:00 PM / 22 days ago

French plane brings more than 250 foreign nationals from epidemic-hit Wuhan to France

People arrive by bus at an accommodation at a firefighter school, to be quarantined as preventive measure in light of the coronavirus outbreak in China, after their evacuation from Wuhan area, in Aix-en-Provence, near Marseille, France, February 2, 2020. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

PARIS (Reuters) - More than 250 people from 30 countries arrived in France on Sunday after being flown out of the Chinese city of Wuhan, the centre of an outbreak of a coronavirus, French officials said.

The French plane landed at a military airbase in Istres, southern France.

Out of the 254 evacuees, 124 were returning to their home countries, French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said.

Sixtyfour French nationals will be quarantined either at a holiday resort at Carry-le-Rouet or at the French National Fire Officers’ Academy near Aix-en-Provence.

Sixty non-European nationals, including from Mexico, Brazil, Rwanda and Georgia, were staying in France for a 14-day quarantine. Twenty evacuees presented some coronavirus symptoms and stayed at the military airbase until tests show if they had the virus.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the plane carried nationals of 30 countries.

The Czech Republic said it had five citizens onboard and that that they would fly on to Brussels to be taken home on a Czech plane.

Sweden said about 10 of its nationals were on the flight and would be taken on to Sweden. Some British nationals were also onboard.

Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva and Sophie Louet in Paris; Additional reporting by Johan Ahlander in Stockholm and Robert Muller in Prague; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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