Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, has been on virtual lockdown since January 23, with nearly all flights canceled and checkpoints blocking the main roads leading out of town due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic that originated in the city's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
Since the outbreak of the deadly virus, the death toll has climbed to over 50 while over 2,000 cases have been confirmed in mainland China.
A global spread of the virus has confirmed over 40 cases in 13 places outside mainland China.
Despite all the lockdown measures undertaken to keep the virus from spreading, Coronavirus seems to have gotten stronger over time and is spreading faster.
Many countries have already started evacuation processes as Japan, US, France, Australia and Russia are keen to get their citizens home amid the rising death toll. In response to the decision, Beijing has said that it is working with foreign missions to make necessary arrangements for the evacuation.
"We have decided to send back all (Japanese citizens in Wuhan) to Japan if they wish so, by every means, including a chartered flight," Shinzō Abe told Japan Times.
Abe added that they are coordinating with the Chinese government at various levels to accelerate the evacuation process of the 710 Japanese citizens in Wuhan.
The speedy spread of the virus includes two cases in the US. With this, the deadly contagion has raised fear among American citizens in China.
Roughly 1,000 American citizens are assumed to be residing in Wuhan and the US consulate there is trying to establish efforts to bring them home via airway. Those evacuated, and the list includes diplomats from the US consulate as well as Americans and their families, will bear the airfare for the evacuation.
In addition to US diplomatic officers based in Wuhan, any seats available may be offered to non-US citizens – including diplomats of other nations, reports The Wall Street Journal.
However, details on the aircraft or its routes could not be learned as plans for the evacuation are still in motion and are subjected to change.
A statement on the official webpage of the French consulate in Wuhan said that France was considering setting up a bus service to allow French citizens in Wuhan to leave the ground-zero affected city.
The French Foreign Ministry has also set up an emergency phone line for distress calls from French citizens confined in Wuhan, reports France 24.
Bus transport details are still being worked out but the initial plan was to take French citizens in Wuhan to another Chinese city where they would undergo a 14-day quarantine before returning to France.
France 24 report added that PSA, makers of Peugeot and Citroen brands, the French automotive group said in a statement they are also planning to evacuate its employees from Wuhan.
The statement said that 38 people would be evacuated and the initiative would be executed in full collaboration with the Chinese authorities and the French general consulate.
Australia's chief medical officer has warned there will likely be more cases of coronavirus confirmed in the country, as the federal government explores plans to evacuate Australian citizens from the pandemic's epicenter in central China.
This follows the confirmation of four cases – three in NSW and one in Victoria.
Three men have been hospitalized in Sydney after flying into Australia from China, while another man in his 50s is being treated in Melbourne.
Meanwhile, the Australian government is exploring options to evacuate Australian nationals stuck inside the locked-down areas of China around Wuhan, reports The Guardian.
Australians are being told not to travel to Wuhan or Hubei province as an obvious safety measure.
Russia is also consulting with China about evacuating Russian citizens from Wuhan and Hubei province.
The Russian RIA news agency quoted the Russian embassy's press release in China saying that there are no Russians infected with coronavirus.
The Sri Lankan embassy in Beijing has applied for a Sri Lankan Airlines plan to be allowed to land at the Wuhan airport to bring home 32 stranded Sri Lankan students and their family members from the pandemic-stricken city.
The Sri Lankan foreign ministry also said it was working on the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to bring back roughly 860 Sri Lankan students stranded in China, reports AFP.