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Europeans flee China, fly to France as coronavirus death toll rises


A second French-chartered plane carrying 300 evacuees from China was flying to France on Sunday as more foreigners fled China’s rapidly developing virus.

The A380 is expected to land at the military base of Istres in the southern French region of Bouches-du-Rhone. A first plane landed Friday near Marseille.

Officials said none of the passengers on this plane from the central Chinese city of Wuhan had symptoms of coronavirus on leaving China. They include French, Belgians, Dutch, Danes, Czechs, Slovaks and some citizens of African countries.

READ MORE: First coronavirus death outside of China reported in Philippines, health authorities say

Authorities said the plane would drop off most of its passengers at Istres before leaving for Belgium with several dozen people from northern Europe. Authorities haven’t said if the travellers arriving at Istres will be put into quarantine.

Of the 180 French people flown back from Wuhan on Friday, one showed symptoms of being infected with the virus and was sent to a Marseille hospital for testing, French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said.

The other passengers were being quarantined for 14 days at a large, isolated Mediterranean resort not far from Marseille near Carry-le-Rouet.

Europe so far has 23 people infected with the virus that emerged from Wuhan: Germany with eight, all tied to the same auto parts factory; France with six; Russia, Italy and the U.K with two each and Finland, Sweden and Spain each with one.

The death toll from the virus in China climbed Sunday to 304 and the number of infections rose to 14,380. In addition, the Philippines on Sunday reported the first virus death outside of China.

On Saturday night, a Turkish military transport plane carrying 42 people arrived in Ankara from Wutan. The 32 Turkish, six Azerbaijani, three Georgian nationals and an Albanian will remain under observation in hospital for 14 days, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Twenty Turkish personnel who participated in the evacuation will also be kept in quarantine.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Canadian government is going through a “deliberate process” to airlift Canadians out of Wuhan and is awaiting approval from China to send a plane to the city.

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