US to evacuate citizens from Wuhan, China, amid coronavirus epidemic

US to evacuate citizens from Wuhan, China, amid coronavirus epidemic
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a medical worker writes their colleague's name on a protective suit to aid in identification as they work at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Firday, Jan. 24, 2020. China announced Friday that it is swiftly building a 1,000-bed hospital dedicated to patients infected with a new virus that has killed 26 people, sickened hundreds and prompted unprecedented lockdowns of cities during the country's most important holiday. (Xiong Qi/Xinhua via AP) (Xiong Qi)

A charter flight to evacuate U.S. citizens and diplomats from Wuhan is being arranged by government officials as the Chinese city remains gripped by a coronavirus epidemic, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday morning.

The Boeing 767 is slated to leave China Sunday.

The U.S. consulate in Wuhan is currently reaching out to as many of the estimated 1,000 American citizens in the area as possible, but the WSJ reported the secured charter flight only seats around 230 people. It will, however, provide in-flight U.S. medical personnel for all passengers.

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The decision to evacuate – approved by China’s Foreign Ministry and other government agencies – comes as the highly contagious virus that originated in Wuhan has claimed more than 40 lives in China and sickened at least 1,200, the WSJ reported.