- Tedros Ghebreyesus says the agency has full confidence in China’s preventive action
- The coronavirus outbreak has killed 106 people
The head of the World Health Organisation said the UN health agency was advising against the withdrawal of foreign nationals from the central Chinese city of Wuhan " the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed 106 people.
In Beijing for meetings with Chinese officials, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency had full confidence in the preventive measures China had adopted to curb the spread of the illness, state news agency Xinhua reported.
With 1,771 new confirmed cases of the virus in mainland China on Tuesday, he said the WHO was aware that some countries planned to evacuate their citizens, but the WHO advised against it. He said there was no need to overreact and people should remain calm.
South Korea said it planned to send chartered planes to Wuhan on Thursday and Friday to fly out its citizens stranded in Wuhan.
"We will voluntarily take action, such as sending planes on January 30 and 31 for South Koreans living in Wuhan who wish to come back," Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany was considering evacuating its citizens from the affected area in China, while Spain is working with China and the European Union to repatriate about 20 of its citizens still in Wuhan.
Japan was sending a plane to Wuhan on Tuesday to begin flying out its citizens, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said.
In his meeting with Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China would continue to cooperate with the WHO and the international community with "transparency".
"With the strong leadership of comrade (President) Xi Jinping and the advantage of the socialist system, as well as the experience from Sars, we are more resolute in tackling this epidemic with more forceful and quicker action," Wang said, referring to the 2002-03 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome.
"We are totally confident that we have the ability and resources to defeat this epidemic."
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