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France confirms sixth case of coronavirus infection as its citizens evacuate Wuhan

A laboratory operator wearing protective gear handles patients’ samples in a laboratory of the National Reference Center for respiratory viruses at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France on January 28, 2020.
A laboratory operator wearing protective gear handles patients’ samples in a laboratory of the National Reference Center for respiratory viruses at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France on January 28, 2020. © Thomas Samson/AFP

France has confirmed a sixth case of infection by the new coronavirus from China, a French health official said on Thursday.

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France confirmed its first three cases of the Wuhan coronavirus on Friday, a fourth case on Tuesday and a fifth case on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a jet carrying around 200 French citizens flew out of the virus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan on Friday, according to AFP journalists on board the flight.

The French military aircraft is bound for southern France, where the passengers will undergo a 14-day quarantine, in case they are carrying the new coronavirus.

The United States and Japan have already carried out airlifts from Wuhan for their citizens. A second US flight is planned in the coming days.

Britain also plans to evacuate around 200 of its citizens on Friday and Australia and New Zealand are among others organising similar operations.

The European Commission has said it is planning a flight to evacuate more European nationals.

Beijing has taken extreme steps to stop the spread of the virus, effectively quarantining more than 50 million people in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province, including thousands of foreigners.

The World Health Organization on Thursday declared a global emergency over the virus, which has also spread to more than 15 other countries.

China's death toll from the virus rose to 212 on Friday as hardest-hit Hubei province reported 42 new fatalities.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

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