The United States is arranging a charter flight on Sunday, Jan. 26, to bring back its people and diplomats from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of a new coronavirus outbreak, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
The plane, with about 230 passengers, will carry U.S. Consulate diplomats as well as U.S. citizens and their families, the Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the operation.
After negotiations in recent days, the newspaper said Washington was given approval for the operation from China’s Foreign Ministry and other government agencies.
A representative for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said that on Thursday, the State Department ordered family members and all U.S. government employees to leave their Wuhan Consulate, but refused to comment on the report that other U.S. citizens would be evacuated from the area.
The decision to move U.S. consular personnel and families was due to coronavirus outbreak “and logistical disruptions stemming from restricted transportation and overwhelmed hospitals in the city of Wuhan,” the representative said in an emailed statement to Reuters.