MOSCOW (AP) — Ukraine’s effort to evacuate more than 70 people from China over the outbreak of a new virus faced setbacks Thursday as weather conditions delayed the return of the evacuees and protests broke out near a hospital where they are to be quarantined.
Dozens of local residents protested Thursday morning seeking to prevent the evacuees from being quarantined there because they fear being infected. People put up road blocks and burned tires, while Ukrainian media reported that there were clashes with police.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy weighed in saying that those demonstration show “not the best side of our character” and sought to assure people that the quarantined evacuees wouldn’t pose any danger to local residents.
In a statement published on his Facebook page, Zelenskiy said the people evacuated from China are healthy and will live in a closed medical center run by the National Guard in the village of Novi Sanzhary as a precaution.
“In the next two weeks it will probably be the most guarded facility in the country,” Zelenskiy said.
In the early hours of Thursday, a plan with plane with 45 Ukrainians and 27 other foreign nationals took off from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak that has infected more than 75,000 people worldwid e and killed over 2,100.
The plane stopped off in Kazakhstan to drop off two Kazakh passengers. Later, it sought to land in Kharkiv, a city in northeastern Ukraine, but could not due to bad weather conditions.
Instead it flew to Kyiv to refuel, and eventually arrived inKharkiv.
Also Thursday, the Russian Embassy in Japan said that two more Russians aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan have been diagnosed with the virus, the Russian Embassy in Japan said. That raises to three the number of Russians on the ship confirmed to have the virus.
The two will be transferred to a hospital in Japan for treatment, according to the embassy.
The Diamond Princess has been docked in the Yokohama port near Tokyo since Feb. 4, when 10 people on board tested positive for the virus. So far 621 cases of the virus, which has been named COVID-19, have been confirmed among the the Diamond Princess’s original 3,711 people on board.
Russia so far has reported only two cases of the disease on its soil. Two Chinese nationals diagnosed with the virus and hospitalized in two different regions of Siberia in late January have recovered and have been released from hospitals.
See more AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak
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