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About 38,000 Ukrainians plan to return home amid coronavirus panic — top diplomat

Over 27,600 people have returned to Ukraine in the past 24 hours

KIEV, March 18./TASS/. About 38,000 Ukrainian nationals plan to return home from other countries amid the spread of the novel coronavirus, and 21,000 people have already turned for assistance to diplomatic missions of the country, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said on Wednesday.

"As of 15:00 (16:00 Moscow time) more than 21,000 citizens requested assistance from Ukraine’s diplomatic missions for their return. This figure is changing every moment," the minister said. "Overall, the number of citizens planning to return to Ukraine is about 38,000," the press service of the Foreign Ministry quoted him as saying.

Dmitry Kuleba specified that over 27,600 people have returned to Ukraine in the past 24 hours. He assured the people that all concerned ministries and agencies of the country were working to return Ukrainian nationals home. "The Foreign Ministry together with the State Border Service have established an efficient scheme for getting Ukrainians back on ground transport across the border with neighboring states, first of all Hungary and Poland," he said..

According to Kuleba, Ukraine plans 57 flights to repatriate people, in particular from Egypt, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, the Dominican Republic, resort islands of the Asian Pacific region. The hubs from where it will be possible to get them back to Ukraine are Istanbul, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Prague, Berlin, Vienna, Warsaw, Przemysl, Bratislava, Riga and Vilnius, the minister specified.

Ukraine at the moment reports 14 coronavirus cases with two fatalities.

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. On March 11, 2020, the WHO officially characterized the situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic. The disease has spread to over 130 countries. The number of coronavirus infection cases in the world has exceeded 200,000, while 8,000 people have died, the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretary General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced Wednesday.