Photo/IllutrationA departure board at Haneda Airport lists a 9:30 a.m. flight bound for Wuhan as canceled on Jan. 28. (Yosuke Fukudome)

A chartered plane to rescue about 650 Japanese nationals from the locked-down city of Wuhan and other municipalities in China's Hubei province will be dispatched late on Jan. 28 and return the following day, according to a top health ministry official.

The second plane is expected to be dispatched after Jan. 29.

The Japanese government initially tried to dispatch a plane on the morning of Jan. 28 to bring the Japanese residing in Hubei province back to Japan the same day.

The plane's departure has been delayed, however, because China has not yet signed off on the flight to the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

To contain the spread of the respiratory infection, Beijing banned air travel in and out of Wuhan and other exit routes from the city starting on Jan. 23