Southeast Asian (SEA) countries are now in touch with their constituents who were trapped in Wuhan, China amid the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak that has killed dozens.
On Monday, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the kingdom is now in preparations to ferry Thai nationals stranded in Wuhan amid the coronavirus outbreak that originated in the city.
He said he had ordered aircraft to remain on standby for the possible evacuation of Thai nationals who wish to return home.
He said that the kingdom was informed by China that it could still contain the virus.
“China confirmed that it can still control the virus. Flights must be approved by the destination country first,” he said.
“As long as the situation is under control, they are unnecessary. Otherwise, there would be a confusion of flights from other countries,” he added.
The prime minister said he had ordered the evacuation months ago, and that teams of medical personnel have been formed to prevent the outbreak from entering Thailand.
The Embassy of Thailand in China was also gathering a list of Thai residents wishing to return home.
Chan-o-cha said that the matter is being prioritized, adding that further announcements will be made.
Meanwhile, Royal Thai Air Force Air Chief Marshal Manat Wongwat said C-130 planes have been prepared to evacuate the stranded Thais.
The flight between Wuhan and Bangkok is approximately 3 hours and 10 minutes.
Philippine government in touch
Meanwhile, the Philippine government said it is in touch with 150 Filipinos in Wuhan City.
“As the city is on lockdown, the Consulate has requested Filipino community leaders to provide them assistance, especially to tourists or on a short-time visit,” the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said.
It advised Filipinos to take the necessary precautions and follow advice from health personnel in their areas.
To recall, Wuhan Airport was ordered locked down in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading into other countries.
Indonesians in Wuhan seek rescue
Meanwhile, Indonesians trapped in Wuhan expressed hope that they be allowed to return to Indonesia amid the virus outbreak.
According to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi, there were 428 Indonesian students in Wuhan, while 1,280 were in Beijing, and 849 in Shanghai.
He said as of December, 90 percent of the total figure traveled back to Indonesia for the Lunar New Year break.