Lithuania will not be evacuating its citizens from China due to the coronavirus outbreak, a special emergency commission decided on Wednesday.
There are some 300 Lithuanian nationals currently in China, according to data of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, two of them in Wuhan, Hubei province, where the outbreak originated.
Should any of the Lithuanians express the desire to leave China, they could be transported safely via France, Lithuania’s Interior Minister Rita Tamošunienė said during the meeting of the State Commission for Emergency Situations. The commission includes representatives of the government, law enforcement, emergency services and the military.
“Not one has expressed the need to return [from China],” Tamašunienė said. “France has offered to transport Lithuanian citizens, if there is a need.”
She added that even infected Lithuanians could be transported back to the country: “There are measures in place to safely transport [of infected people], at the same time ensuring that the virus is contained.”
The Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that two Lithuanian nationals were in Wuhan, the Chinese port city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak.
The ministry said that Lithuanian embassies in China were in constant contact with Lithuanian nationals.
A number of countries, including the US, Japan and France, Germany and Spain, have decided to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan.
A US charter flight left Wuhan on Wednesday with about 200 Americans on board, including consulate staff. Another 200 people were aboard a Japanese flight which landed in Tokyo on Wednesday morning.
The Chinese government has quarantined the city of 11 million.