The Italian government said Wednesday it was sending a plane to evacuate citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of a deadly SARS-like virus.
The foreign ministry said the aircraft, which will be carrying a medical team, would depart Thursday "once all the necessary authorisations have been obtained from the Chinese authorities".
It did not say how many Italians would be airlifted out, or whether they would be placed in quarantine, though those transported home would have to follow "a protocol laid out by the health ministry".
Between 60 and 70 Italians are currently in Wuhan according to media, though the Corriere della Sera and Repubblica dailies said that not all of them wanted to be evacuated.
The Italian foreign ministry advises against all travel to Hubei province due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, which has killed 132 people and infected around 6,000.