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Weather and protests hamper Ukraine quarantine efforts

Ukraine's effort to evacuate more than 70 people from China over the outbreak of a new virus faced setbacks Thursday as weather conditions delayed the return of the evacuees and protests broke out near a hospital where they are to be quarantined.

Dozens of local residents protested Thursday morning seeking to prevent the evacuees from being quarantined there because they fear being infected. People put up road blocks and burned tires, while Ukrainian media reported that there were clashes with police.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy weighed in saying that those demonstration show “not the best side of our character" and sought to assure people that the quarantined evacuees wouldn't pose any danger to local residents.

In this handout photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, A group of medical personnel stand ready at the Ukrainian aircraft chartered by the Ukrainian government for evacuation from the Chinese city of Wuhan, lands at Borispil international airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. The plane carrying evacuees from Wuhan, including over 45 Ukrainians and a number of foreign passengers landed ahead of a 14-day quarantine in the country. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

In a statement published on his Facebook page, Zelenskiy said the people evacuated from China are healthy and will live in a closed medical center run by the National Guard in the village of Novi Sanzhary as a precaution.

"In the next two weeks it will probably be the most guarded facility in the country,” Zelenskiy said.

In the early hours of Thursday, a plan with plane with 45 Ukrainians and 27 other foreign nationals took off from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak that has infected more than 75,000 people worldwid e and killed over 2,100.

The Ukrainian aircraft chartered by the Ukrainian government for evacuation from the Chinese city of Wuhan, lands at Borispil international airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. A plane carrying evacuees from Wuhan, including over 45 Ukrainians and a number of foreign passengers landed ahead of a 14-day quarantine in the country. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

The plane stopped off in Kazakhstan to drop off two Kazakh passengers. Later, it sought to land in Kharkiv, a city in northeastern Ukraine, but could not due to bad weather conditions.

Instead it flew to Kyiv to refuel, and eventually arrived inKharkiv.

Also Thursday, the Russian Embassy in Japan said that two more Russians aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan have been diagnosed with the virus, the Russian Embassy in Japan said. That raises to three the number of Russians on the ship confirmed to have the virus.

In this photo released by Ukraine's Embassy in China, 45 Ukrainians and 28 foreigners pose for photo before boarding the Ukrainian aircraft chartered by the Ukrainian government for evacuation in the airport of the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak Wednesday, Feb.19, 2020. Among 28 foreigners there are citizens of Argentina, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Israel, Ecuador. (AP PhotoUkraine's Foreign Ministry Press-Service)

The two will be transferred to a hospital in Japan for treatment, according to the embassy.

The Diamond Princess has been docked in the Yokohama port near Tokyo since Feb. 4, when 10 people on board tested positive for the virus. So far 621 cases of the virus, which has been named COVID-19, have been confirmed among the the Diamond Princess's original 3,711 people on board.

Russia so far has reported only two cases of the disease on its soil. Two Chinese nationals diagnosed with the virus and hospitalized in two different regions of Siberia in late January have recovered and have been released from hospitals.

In this photo released by Ukraine's Embassy in China, a Ukrainian passenger gives a victory sign aboard the airport bus to board the aircraft chartered by Ukraine's government to evacuate 45 Ukrainian and 28 foreign citizens from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Wednesday, Feb.19, 2020. Among 28 foreigners there are citizens of Argentina, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Israel, Ecuador. (AP PhotoUkraine's Foreign Ministry Press-Service)

See more AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak

In this handout photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, A group of medical personnel stands ready at the Ukrainian aircraft chartered by the Ukrainian government for evacuation from the Chinese city of Wuhan, lands at Borispil international airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. The plane carrying evacuees from Wuhan, including over 45 Ukrainians and a number of foreign passengers landed ahead of a 14-day quarantine in the country. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Buses carrying Israeli passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship leave a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. Passengers tested negative for COVID-19 started disembarking since Wednesday. (AP PhotoEugene Hoshiko)

In this photo released by Ukraine's Embassy in China, passengers pass security check before boarding in Wuhan airport China, Wednesday, Feb.19, 2020. The Ukrainian government chartered an aircraft to evacuate 45 Ukrainians and 28 foreigners from Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Among 28 foreigners there are citizens of Argentina, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Israel, Ecuador. (AP PhotoUkraine's Foreign Ministry Press-Service)

In this handout photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, The Ukrainian aircraft chartered by the Ukrainian government for evacuation from the Chinese city of Wuhan, lands at Borispil international airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. A plane carrying evacuees from Wuhan, including over 45 Ukrainians and a number of foreign passengers landed ahead of a 14-day quarantine in the country. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

In this photo released by Ukraine's Embassy in China, Ukrainian passengers hold Ukrainian flag as they pose for photo before boarding the aircraft chartered by Ukraine's government to evacuate 45 Ukrainian and 28 foreign citizens from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Wednesday, Feb.19, 2020. Among 28 foreigners there are citizens of Argentina, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Israel, Ecuador. (AP PhotoUkraine's Foreign Ministry Press-Service)