WAcross the world, the fear of a pandemic caused by the novel corona virus is leading to ever more drastic foreclosure measures: Lufthansa, British Airways and other airlines are suspending their flights to China; numerous countries, including Germany, advised against traveling to the People’s Republic. The United States flew over 200 compatriots from Wuhan. A charter plane with American citizens left the Chinese metropolis particularly affected by the corona virus on Wednesday.
A fifth infection with the virus was also confirmed in France. It is the daughter of the also sick 80-year-old tourist from China, said French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn on Wednesday evening. The condition of the 80-year-old is serious, the man will continue to be treated in a Paris hospital. In addition, the condition of another infected about 30-year-old who has been treated since the end of last week has deteriorated.
Buzyn further announced that the first evacuation plane from France should take off on Wednesday evening to take around 200 Frenchmen from the center of the virus outbreak, the metropolis of China, Wuhan, which is a metropolis of China. Further flights are therefore planned for the coming days. In a first European return campaign, 250 French nationals were to be flown out of China. Rome plans to dispatch a machine to evacuate Italians from Wuhan on Thursday. According to the EU Commission, a total of at least 600 citizens from 14 EU countries want to leave Wuhan, including a hundred Germans.
The Federal Government is also preparing a return campaign for its citizens wishing to leave the country. According to the Federal Foreign Office, they are to be brought to Frankfurt on a special flight by the Air Force in the next few days.
Another suspected case was reported from Leipzig on Wednesday evening: A Chinese tenth grader could have been infected with the corona virus, the Märkische Allgemeine reported.
Around a month after the first cases were reported, the number of sufferers in mainland China on Wednesday was around 6,000 according to the authorities. 132 patients have died so far. Outside of China, there are currently around 51 cases of infection in at least 18 countries, four of them in Germany.
The World Health Organization Emergency Committee (WHO) wanted to meet again on Thursday for a crisis meeting. WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday regretted last week his organization’s decision to classify the global risk of the virus outbreak as “moderate”. The WHO has scheduled another emergency meeting for its emergency committee on Thursday.
In response to the spread of the virus, Lufthansa announced on Wednesday that it would suspend flights to and from China until February 9. The decision also affects all flights operated by Swiss and Austrian Airlines, as the group explained. British Airways had previously suspended its flights. Indonesia’s low-cost airline Lion Air, the American line United Airlines and other airlines have also announced that they will stop or reduce their flight operations to China. Kazakhstan cut all travel connections to the neighboring country. Mongolia closed its entire border with China on Monday. The small Pacific state of Papua New Guinea no longer wants to let travelers from Asia enter the country.
China has been trying to control the spread of the new virus for days with rigorous travel restrictions and the isolation of entire cities. In Wuhan, where the virus first appeared in December, the streets were empty. For the first time since the city was sealed off by the authorities, he had to leave his apartment, a passer-by told AFP on Wednesday. “I have no choice, I have to buy food,” he added.
In Germany, three other cases of the virus had become known on Tuesday evening. As in the first case, they all work for the automotive supplier Webasto, located in the Upper Bavarian district of Starnberg, as the Bavarian Ministry of Health announced. The first man infected in Germany is also the first known person-to-person transmission of the virus outside of Asia. According to the treating clinic, all four patients are “symptom-free and in a clinically good condition”.