RABAT – Morocco’s King Mohammed VI ordered the evacuation of Moroccans from the Chinese city of Wuhan at the epicentre of a new virus outbreak as the death toll rose sharply to 132.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is confident in China's ability to contain the coronavirus, but concern is mounting as health authorities reported the number of confirmed cases had jumped by 1,459 to 5,974.
Streets were deserted in many major cities as the number of deaths from the flu-like virus rose by 26 to 132, almost all in the province of Hubei, the capital of which is Wuhan, where the virus emerged last month in a wild animal market.
The central province of about 60 million people is under virtual lockdown.
King Mohammed VI’s initiative was warmly welcomed by Moroccans, who found themselves cut off from the rest of the world.
Several Moroccans living in Wuhan took to social media to express their fear and call on their government to repatriate them.
The king asked for the necessary health measures to be taken in terms of transport, airports and specific reception infrastructures in coordination with the Moroccan embassy in Beijing.
Medical teams have been mobilized at Casablanca’s Mohammed V airport to subject repatriated Moroccans, most of whom are students, to medical examinations.
Authorised sources indicate that no case of contamination has been recorded among the Moroccans living in the Chinese province affected by this virus.