World • 21 February, 2020

Coronavirus: Ukraine protesters attack buses carrying China evacuees

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Dozens of protesters in a Ukrainian town have attacked buses carrying evacuees from coronavirus-hit China, BBC reports.

Photo credit: REUTERS

The evacuees were being brought to the hospital in Novi Sanzhary, in the central Poltava region, where they will be held in quarantine for 14 days.

President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the protesters to show empathy.

Ukraine's security service (SSU) said a fake email claiming to be from the Ministry of Health falsely said some evacuees had contracted the virus.

SSU officials are now investigating the apparent hoax, a statement said.

Earlier on Thursday, 45 Ukrainians and 27 foreign nationals were flown from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the deadly outbreak, to Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine.

Six buses then drove them to the hospital in Novi Sanzhary, where they were met by demonstrators lighting bonfires and hurling stones.

The country's health ministry said none of the passengers were sick.

Ukraine's diplomatic mission added that three Ukrainians and a resident of Kazakhstan had been left behind in China, because they had reported having a fever.

Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, Health Minister Zoriana Skaletska and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov all travelled to the city to try and calm tensions.

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