Saudi evacuating its citizens from Wuhan as coronavirus spreads across China

The city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, is currently under lockdown



Saudi Arabia’s embassy in China has confirmed that it is evacuating all Saudi nationals from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

The embassy urged its citizens in Wuhan to contact its officials to facilitate evacuation from the city, which is currently under lockdown.

At least 54 people in China have died from the coronavirus, China Central Television (CCTV) announced on Sunday, with the official death toll previously standing at 41.

More than 2,000 cases of the virus have been reported worldwide, including in the Japan, France, the US, Singapore, South Korea, Canada, Australia and Malaysia.

Last week, China announced that it would ban all outgoing overseas group tours from Wuhan starting January 27, while also suspending domestic group tours. Buses will also be prohibited from entering and leaving the city – which has 11 million residents – from January 26. Only authorised vehicles carrying supplies would be permitted, the reports said.

Meanwhile the US also plans to temporarily close its consulate in Wuhan and evacuate some of its national from the area, Dow Jones reported.

Scientists around the globe have been working to understand the virus better, how contagious it is and where it comes from. First detected in Wuhan last month, it has sparked fears that the disease could rival SARS, the pandemic that claimed almost 800 lives 17 years ago.

With inputs from Bloomberg