A Turkish cargo plane took off at 12:00 (local time) from Ankara on Friday to evacuate citizens of Turkey and neighboring countries from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the heart of the coronavirus epidemic.
The Turkish plane, at the initiative of the Ministry of Health, will evacuate 34 Turkish civilians as well as seven Georgian nationals, seven from Azerbaijan and one from Albanian.
The plane also carries healthcare personnel with experience in infectious diseases.
Citizens in Wuhan will be transported to Turkey after a complete health checkup in quarantine.
The coronavirus has killed at least 213 people in China, with nearly 10,000 registered people infected, while more than 80,000 people have undergone medical monitoring.
Since the outbreak late last year, China has quarantined Wuhan to keep the virus from spreading while it is building a 1,000-bed hospital in the city to cure those affected by the epidemic.
In addition to China, the virus has been detected in many other countries such as Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the USA, Singapore, France, Vietnam and Canada.
The World Health Organization called an emergency meeting on Thursday and declared the international community in a state of emergency.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in a statement Friday that no cases of coronavirus have been reported in Turkey so far.
In addition, he informed that the Turkish citizens who wish to return home from the Chinese city of Wuhan with the Turkish plane, have not been diagnosed with the virus./ibna