18 Dutch to be extracted from China; may be quarantined elsewhere in EU

Masked people on a train in Wuhan, China
Masked people on a train in Wuhan, ChinalewistseDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

A total of 18 Dutch in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter for the new coronavirus, reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that they want to be evacuated from the country, Minister Stef Blok confirmed. Exactly when this evacuation will happen, is not yet clear. The Dutch embassy in China warned Dutch in the area that they may have to spend 14 days in quarantine in another EU country.

"Eighteen Dutch people who want to leave Wuhan have reported to us. To get the evacuation done, European cooperation is needed and the Chinese authorities must give permission for the people to leave the area," Blok said, according to NU.nl. The Ministry previously said that there were 20 Dutch in the area. The EU, at the request of France, agreed to send two planes to China to pick up EU citizens. One left on Wednesday, the other is expected to fly to China later this week. 

All people who were in the area of the coronavirus will have to spend some time in quarantine, and for Dutch this may mean somewhere other than the Netherlands. In principle, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will arrange transport to the Netherlands for Dutch flown from China to another European country, the embassy said, AD reports. But added, that China or the 'transporting country' may impose conditions on quarantine, like that it has to happen in the country of first arrival. "The Netherlands will apply these conditions to make your evacuation possible," the embassy said.

The embassy also warned that there is "a serious chance" that the Chinese authorities will not allow the evacuation of people of Chinese nationality living in the EU or who have a spouse from an EU country. "Take that into account." 

Broadcaster NOS spoke to a Dutch man who said he decided to stay in China because he's married to a woman with Chinese citizenship. China won't allow her to leave and he does not wat to leave her behind, he said. The couple also have a 15-year-old son. It may be that the man and boy were the two Dutch who declined the Ministry's offer to be evacuated. 

The evacuation will not cost the Dutch people involved anything. Transport will be covered by the European Union and the Netherlands. The costs involved in quarantine will also be reimbursed.