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Quebec considers evacuating citizens from China amid coronavirus outbreak

Quebec is considering repatriating citizens amid the new coronavirus outbreak.
Quebec is considering repatriating citizens amid the new coronavirus outbreak. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

The provincial government is considering repatriating Quebecers who are currently in China as the number of new coronavirus cases continues to rise.

Health Minister Danielle McCann told reporters on Wednesday at the province’s National Assembly that a decision will be made in the coming days.

“We are considering repatriating Quebecers,” she said, without specifying how many people could be brought home.

READ MORE: Coronavirus cases in China jump to nearly 6,000, surpassing SARS outbreak

The new virus has quickly spread after originating in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December. It has led to nearly 6,000 confirmed cases, with 132 deaths as of late Tuesday.

In the afternoon, Canada also announced plans to evacuate citizens from Chinese cities hit hard by the new coronavirus. Other countries, including France and the U.S., are also preparing to repatriate their citizens.

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Global Affairs Canada is warning citizens to avoid all travel to the province of Hubei. Air Canada also joined on Wednesday a growing number of airlines suspending flights to China.

The Quebec government is taking all necessary precautions to keep the virus under control should be there a confirmed case in the province, according to McCann.

READ MORE:  WHO to meet again to determine whether new coronavirus is an international emergency

The province is currently investigating two potential cases after ruling out a third late Tuesday. Last week, six patients were under observation, but they tested negative for the virus.

“We have to be ready even if the situation is currently under control,” said McCann.

The World Health Organization is also reconvening this week to decide if the new virus is a public health emergency of international concern.

The symptoms of the new virus include fever, cough and a tight chest. Some people could also experience difficulty breathing.

Coronavirus outbreak: WHO official says the ‘world is pulling together’ over outbreak
Coronavirus outbreak: WHO official says the ‘world is pulling together’ over outbreak

— With files from Global News’ Andrew Russell and the Canadian Press