The military cargo plane transported 42 people, including citizens from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Albania, and Georgia, from China's coronavirus epicentre.
A Turkish cargo plane has landed in Ankara after evacuating Turkish citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, on Saturday after around two hours' replenishing in Mongolia.
The Turkish Armed Forces' A400M type cargo plane airlifted 42 people with 32 Turkish citizens, along with the citizens of Azerbaijan, Albania, and Georgia.
Passengers' health conditions are good and their oxygen levels, as well as body temperature, are normal, Turkish officials told an Anadolu Agency reporter on board.
With 11 military personnel, six health employees, two press members and one Foreign Ministry representative on board, the plane landed in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital, at 0700GMT to replenish its fuel storage.
During the refuelling, the passengers went through medical examinations, officials said.
'No cases of coronavirus in Turkey'
Speaking at a news conference after the fifth meeting of a scientific committee on the virus, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said no sign of any medical problem in 42 passengers was found.
The evacuees will be transferred to Zekai Tahir Burak Hospital in Ankara, he added.
Evacuees will be quarantined for 14 days in single rooms in line with a coronavirus incubation period.
No cases of coronavirus have been found so far in Turkey, the minister added.
"We are happy, we are grateful," Koca said on Twitter.
“Mutluyuz, minnettarız.”— Dr. Fahrettin Koca (@drfahrettinkoca) February 1, 2020
Çin’in Vuhan kentinden, 42 yolcuyla gelen uçağımız başkentimize ulaştı. Milletimiz, devletimiz adına biz de onlar kadar mutluyuz. pic.twitter.com/9025LtAUjb
Medical aid to China
The plane also delivered medical equipment, dispatched by Turkey’s state-run aid and development agency and Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, to China.
The coronavirus has killed at least 259 people in China, with nearly 12,000 infected. More than 118,000 people are under medical observation.
Since its outbreak late last year, China has put Wuhan under lockdown in a bid to contain the virus and is building a 1,000-bed hospital to treat those affected.
Beyond China, the virus has spread to Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the US, Singapore, France, Vietnam and Canada.
Travellers from China are being screened for the virus at airports worldwide. Several airlines have suspended flights to Wuhan.