India Decides To Take Steps For Possible Evacuation Of Indians From Coronavirus-Hit Wuhan In China
Tourists wearing surgical masks in Macau, China. (Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg)  

India Decides To Take Steps For Possible Evacuation Of Indians From Coronavirus-Hit Wuhan In China

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The government on Monday decided to take steps for possible evacuation of over 250 Indians from Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the fast spreading coronavirus.

A meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba reviewed India's preparedness to deal with coronavirus amid mounting global concern over increasing number of cases in China and several other countries.

The meeting decided to take a raft of precautionary measures including screening of people at international ports having traffic from China as well as at the integrated check posts across Nepal border.

Also read: China Deaths Jump as Measures Fail to Slow Spread of Virus

Officials said Ministry of External Affairs will make a request to the Chinese authorities for evacuation of Indian nationals, mostly students, stuck in Wuhan city.

"It was decided that steps may be taken to prepare for possible evacuation of Indian nationals in Wuhan. Accordingly, Ministry of External Affairs “will make a request to the Chinese authorities," a government statement said.

Wuhan along with 12 other cities have been completely sealed by the Chinese authorities to stop the virus from spreading. The death toll climbed to 80 with 2,744 confirmed cases.

Over 250 to 300 Indian students are reportedly stuck in Wuhan triggering concerns over their well-being.

Also read: China Warns Virus Spread Increasing, New U.S. Case: Virus Update

The statement said the ministry of civil aviation and ministry of health will make arrangements for transport and quarantine facilities respectively.

The meeting chaired by Gauba also decided that the civil aviation ministry will issue instruction to airlines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on all flights with direct or indirect connectivity to China.

Officials said the civil aviation ministry will also ask the airlines to make in-flight announcements and distribute "health cards" to all flights with direct or indirect connectivity to China.

The home ministry will ensure that integrated check posts initiate screening of visitors across Nepal border.

Also read: The China Coronavirus Will Test the U.S., Too

"States have been requested to provide health staff for these check posts. SSB/ BSF/Immigration officers manning integrated check posts have been sensitised," the statement said.

The health ministry also held a meeting earlier on Monday with chief secretaries to review the preparedness and screening in five states having border with Nepal.

So far 29,707 people from 137 flights have been screened across the country.

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