January 27, 2020 / 11:49 AM / 20 days ago

UPDATE 1-Japan to send charter flights to Wuhan as early as Tuesday - sources

(Changes sourcing, adds plans at ANA and Honda)

TOKYO, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Japan is expected to arrange charter flights as early as Tuesday for any of its citizens who wish to return from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak, two sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The death toll from the new virus rose to 81 on Monday as authorities scrambled globally to curb its spread.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said earlier on Monday the government was working with Chinese authorities to make arrangements for all Japanese nationals wishing to return from Wuhan, including on charter flights.

ANA Holdings Inc is preparing multiple flights for the evacuation, said the sources, who declined to be identified because the plan is private. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Among Japanese companies that operate in Wuhan, Honda Motor is planning to repatriate about 30 of its expatriate staff, a company spokeswoman said. (Reporting by Kaori Kaneko, Maki Shiraki and Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Kim Coghill and Andrew Cawthorne)

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