Coronavirus: Germany planning evacuation of its citizens in China
Germany is considering joining other western countries in evacuating people from China as the deadly coronavirus claims more victims.
“We are checking and preparing for all options, that means we are also considering a possible evacuation of all those willing to leave,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said at a press conference with EU High Representative Josep Borrell in Berlin.
The number of German citizens currently in the city was estimated to be “in double figures,” Maas said. A ministry spokeswoman told the DPA news agency that there are around 90 Germans living in Wuhan. These were “citizens who live, work, study, or are married,” she said.
A consular team is being sent from Beijing to Wuhan, where the virus broke out, this evening to meet Germans in the area.
Maas also said that a government crisis management team was about to meet this afternoon in his ministry to discuss further steps, with experts from the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s leading public health body.
“All citizens should keep up with the Foreign Ministry travel advice, which is being updated daily,” he added. “Travelers should consider delaying or canceling non-essential journeys to China.”
Borrell added that the EU Commission was coordinating with member states over its response to the outbreak, with a health ministers’ summit being organized to establish how suspected cases would be dealt with and reported. He said the EU was also in contact with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Read more: Coronavirus: What you need to know
First confirmed cases in Europe
France has confirmed three cases of the virus, which has killed over 80 people in China and infected at least 2,800 people. Both France and the US, which has also had a handful of confirmed cases, are also organizing evacuations.