National calls for evacuation of Kiwis in Wuhan amid coronavirus outbreak

Source: 1News

National is calling for the Government to "stop sitting on its hands" and bring a family in Wuhan, China home. 

Mr Bridges says National could do more for them – and all Māori – if elected.

Flights, trains and public transport have been on lockdown, with many private cars also restricted, since last week in Wuhan, as the novel coronavirus has spread - killing 81 people and infecting 2700 so far. 

"Countries around the world are evacuating their citizens and putting them in quarantine for 14 days," National leader Simon Bridges said. 

"We have a desperate family telling the media they fear they’ll die of the virus or die of starvation. The Government needs to act to protect them.

"It’s time for action."

A woman told RNZ she travelled to Wuhan on January 20 and had not left the house in five days in fear of the virus and said there was a food shortage. 

"I feel a little disappointed since many other countries are taking action already, but it seems like the New Zealand Government is falling behind."

Another New Zealander, Aaron Mahon, who had been living in Wuhan for a year but was planning to move back, told NZ Herald there "was no help".

"The feeling is that we're going to die in China. We need to get out of here," he told the newspaper. 

"We're happy to go into quarantine, we just need help to get out of the city."

Mr Bridges said the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing and the Consulate-General in Shanghai and Guangzhou were closed for Chinese New Year.

"The Government should have told its officials to come back from holiday to deal with New Zealanders in China who need help."

RNZ reported 21 New Zealanders were registered in Wuhan. 

Japan, the United States, France and Sri Lanka are planning to fly their citizens from Wuhan, Associated Press reported. Australia is "exploring opportunities". 

1 NEWS has contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment. 

Ministry of Health yesterday told media there was a high likelihood of New Zealand getting a case of the coronavirus. However the chances of a sustained community outbreak are low, the officials said.