By K J M Varma :
SEVERAL countries, including India, scrambled to evacuate their nationals from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, as the death toll in China soared to 259 and nearly 12,000 people infected with the deadly virus.
The virus that emerged in early December and traced to a market in Hubei province capital Wuhan that sold wild animals, has now spread to more than two dozen nations, including India where the first case is confirmed in Kerala, the US, Britain, Russia and Sweden. Chinese health authorities on Saturday announced that the death toll has increased to 259 as 46 more people, all but one in Hubei, died in the preceding 24 hours.
With 2,102 new infections, the total confirmed cases in China increased to 11,791, the biggest increase since China began reporting the spread of the virulent virus on January 21. China’s National Health Commission in its daily report on Saturday said that 1,795 patients remained in critical condition, and 17,988 people were suspected of being infected with the virus as of the end of Friday. So far about 124 cases have been reported in other countries.
324 Indians evacuated from Wuhan, admitted to ITBP, Army facilities
NEW DELHI :
AS many as 324 Indians, evacuated from China’s Wuhan city, on Saturday reached here on board Air India’s jumbo B747 aircraft and were admitted at the two quarantine facilities set up by the Army and the ITBP, though none of them have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials said. The plane, carrying 211 students, 110 working professionals and three minors, reached Delhi around 7.30 am, they said, adding that none of them have tested positive for the coronavirus as yet. Another flight of the airline, which departed for the Chinese city from here around 1.37 pm to bring back Indian nationals, reached Wuhan around 5.40 pm on Saturday, the officials said.
Five doctors from the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital, who were on board the first flight, are also in the second flight, an Air India spokesperson said. Out of the total 324 who landed here this morning, 88 women, 10 men and six children were brought to the special quarantine facility of the ITBP in south-west Delhi’s Chhawla area, ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey said.
The Army has also set up a quarantine facility in Manesar near Delhi to keep around 300 Indians being evacuated from China’s Hubei province in view of the coronavirus infection outbreak. Separately, border-guarding force ITBP has set up a 600-bedded facility in south-west Delhi’s Chhawla area to quarantine and provide basic medical care to those suspected to have been affected by the virus.
The officials said the Indians evacuated from China will be monitored for any signs of the infection for a duration of two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members. The first flight had departed from Delhi airport at 1.17 pm on Friday to evacuate Indian nationals from China, where more than 250 people, none of them Indian, have died due to the deadly coronavirus infection. Out of the 324 persons that have been evacuated through first Air India flight, 56, 53 and 42 are from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, respectively.