KYIV -- A plane carrying the first group of Ukrainians evacuated from China's Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the deadly new coronavirus outbreak, has landed in Ukraine amid protests by residents of the eastern city of Kharkiv, where a quarantine center has been set up.
Ukrainian authorities said 45 Ukrainians and 27 foreigners, as well as medical personnel and crew members, were aboard the plane. The nationalities of the foreign citizens were not immediately known.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wrote on Facebook on February 20 that the plane carrying both Ukrainians and several foreigners made a quick stop to refuel at Kyiv's Borispil airport before landing in Kharkiv.
Zelenskiy said all the people who arrived from Wuhan will be quarantined for 14 days in the National Guard's medical center in the town of Novi Sanzhary in the eastern region of Poltava.
Local authorities they will be transported to Novi Sanzhary in heavily guarded buses.
Meanwhile, a group of Novi Sanzhary residents protesting the presence of the quarantine center in their town blocked a major highway in the region and scuffled with riot police.
Regional Governor Oleh Synehubov arrived at the protest site to try to calm the protesters.
Separately, in the western region of Lviv, protesters blocked a highway for a short time amid rumors that some of those evacuated from Wuhan could be placed in quarantine in a military hospital in the area. Local authorities denied the rumors.
Zelenskiy in his Facebook post called on Ukrainians to show respect for their returning compatriots and stop the protests.