February 1, 2020 / 12:31 PM / 16 days ago

Russian armed forces aircraft to evacuate citizens from China - agencies

FILE PHOTO: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov speaks during the annual end-of-year news conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia December 19, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian military will evacuate Russian citizens from China due to the coronavirus outbreak, news agencies reported on Saturday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the evacuation would take place in regions that had been most affected by the outbreak, Interfax and TASS news agencies reported.

Peskov first said that evacuation will start on Saturday but later corrected himself, saying it will be carried out on Monday and Tuesday.

The Russian defence ministry plans to use five airplanes to evacuate people from China, RIA state news agency reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said on Friday that Russia planned to evacuate more than 600 of its citizens now in Wuhan and Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak in China, and they will be quarantined for 14 days.

Russia has already reported its first two cases of coronavirus and restricted direct flights to China, its biggest trade partner.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Helen Popper

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