The EU will help pay for two planes to bring home around 350 Europeans from parts of China affected by the deadly coronavirus, following a request for assistance from Paris.
Under the French-led operation, the first aircraft should take off Wednesday morning carrying an expected 250 French passengers, with the second — carrying people from other EU countries — expected to depart later in the week, the European Commission announced Tuesday.
“At this stage, only healthy or asymptomatic citizens will be authorised to travel,” the statement read, adding that the EU Emergency Response Centre was in touch with governments to “coordinate the arrivals and subsequent possible quarantine periods.”
The move follows the Commissions disclosure earlier Tuesday that countries could request money from the so-called EU civil protection mechanism to part-fund their efforts to respond to the outbreak.
“The EU does not forget its citizens in need, wherever they are in the world,” said Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič.
Lenarčič said further action would be taken if needed and that the Commissions emergency response team was in “constant contact” with the Chinese embassy in Brussels.