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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Embassy tracks down those who want to leave Wuhan

Wuhan city has been under a lockdown as the centre of the novel cornonavirus outbreak. (AP pic)
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian diplomatic officials in Beijing are working to identify the actual number of Malaysians who live in Wuhan city and surrounding areas as efforts begin to bring them home in the wake of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.
Malaysia’s Ambassador to China, Raja Nushirwan Zainal Abidin, said everyone would be accounted for, and would be brought home.
“We are still trying to get the names and the number of Malaysians in Wuhan and the surrounding cities who want to return home. But it is up to them should they choose to stay.
“So far we have located 96 Malaysians and 20 non-citizen spouses. Of the total, eight are students while the rest are in China to visit their families,” he said.
Earlier today, health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said in Putrajaya that a special task force had been set up to work on the evacuation. The task force comprises officials of the National Disaster Management Agency, National Security Council, the armed forces, AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines.
Raja Nushirwan urged Malaysians in the area to contact the embassy so that an evacuation could proceed smoothly if it was approved by the Chinese government.
He said the embassy was also trying to send food supplies to homes of Malaysians in the affected areas. “From what we have gathered there were concerns over inadequate food supply but the people there are still getting their stocks as the Chinese government has delivered food supplies to Wuhan,” he said.
Yesterday Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia was prepared to evacuate and bring home Malaysians in Wuhan, if the Chinese government approved. He said Malaysian officials would soon initiate talks with the Chinese government. - Bernama

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