Health and Science

US to evacuate Wuhan consulate and any citizens who want to leave city as China coronavirus spreads

Key Points
  • The State Department has established a task force to facilitate the evacuation of the U.S. consulate in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus continues to spread, a source familiar with the plans tells NBC News.
  • The initial chartered flight could accommodate around 240 people, and several dozen U.S. citizens in Wuhan have indicated that they want to leave the city.
  • That number is likely to rise. Nearly 1,400 people in mainland China have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and more than 40 people have died.
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Coronavirus deaths now total 41

The State Department has established a task force to facilitate the evacuation of the U.S. consulate in the city of Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus continues to spread, according to NBC News.

The task force met several times on Saturday to work out the details of the departure and at one point chartered a Boeing 767 aircraft to leave Wuhan on Monday, Jan. 27, but later Saturday those plans collapsed.

The State Department continues to work with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to arrange a flight to the U.S. for Wuhan consulate employees, their family members and any other U.S. citizens who wish to leave the city.

Some U.S. citizens with Chinese spouses or children may chose to stay because their family members would not be able to board the flight according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The initial chartered flight could accommodate around 240 people, and several dozen U.S. citizens in Wuhan have indicated that they want to depart on it.

That number is likely to rise. Nearly 1,400 people in mainland China have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and more than 40 people have died. A virus emergency has been declared in Hong Kong, extending school cancellations until February 17 and canceling all official visits to mainland China.

The Center for Disease Control says this respiratory illness is new.

This map shows the latest spread of reported cases of coronavirus

Correction: The city of Wuhan is located in Hubei province. A previous version of this story misstated the province.