36 evacuated from China to France show virus symptoms: minister
Aix-en-Provence (France) (AFP)
Thirty six people aboard an evacuation flight from China that landed in France on Sunday showed symptoms of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 360 people, Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said.
In all, 254 people arrived in France from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the deadly virus was first detected, on the second such flight.
"About 20 people who presented symptoms have stayed on the tarmac" at Istres airport in the south of France to undergo further testing, Buzyn told journalists. They included French and non-European nationals.
Tests were carried out to establish whether they had the coronavirus and the results will be known on Monday, the health ministry told AFP.
A further 16 foreign nationals displaying symptoms were flown back to their respective countries.
The second evacuation flight was carrying people of 30 different nationalities, most of them European. Sixty five of the returnees were French.
A total of 124 non-French evacuees swiftly travelled on to their home countries, according to military sources in Istres.
Nine Belgians and three of their partners as well as 15 Dutch citizens and their two Chinese partners were isolated after travelling on from Istres to a military airport near Brussels, according to Belga news agency.
However, 60 others from Mexico, Rwanda, Brazil and Georgia remained on French soil, Buzyn told reporters.
Some of the returnees will be quarantined for 14 days while others would be allowed to head back to their home countries if they showed no symptoms of the virus, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French broadcaster RTL.
The first planeload of evacuees from China arrived on Friday and are in quarantine at a resort on the Mediterranean coast.
Two passengers from that flight were identified as possible cases of coronavirus, but tests on them came back negative.
Le Drian hailed the "remarkable" cooperation by the Chinese authorities which has allowed all the French nationals who wanted to return home to do so.
The health minister assured that the arrival of more people from Wuhan presented no extra risk of contagion of the virus.
France and its fellow G7 countries will discuss a joint response to the coronavirus epidemic, Germany's health minister said on Sunday.
So far in France, only six cases of coronavirus have been detected.
© 2020 AFP