STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Coronavirus outbreak: Air India ready for evacuation of Indians from Wuhan, says source

The airline is awaiting necessary approvals from the ministries of External Affairs and Health to operate the special evacuation flight, the source said.

Published: 28th January 2020 10:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2020 11:06 AM   |  A+A-

Workers in protective gear carry a bag containing a giant salamander that was reported to have escaped from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (Photo | AP)

Workers in protective gear carry a bag containing a giant salamander that was reported to have escaped from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (Photo | AP)

By PTI

MUMBAI: Flag carrier Air India has kept one of its 423-seater jumbo plane ready in Mumbai for the evacuation of Indian citizens from Wuhan province in China in the wake of Cornovirus outbreak in the East Asian country, an official source said on Tuesday.

The airline is awaiting necessary approvals from the ministries of External Affairs and Health to operate the special evacuation flight, the source said.

The decision follows the government instructions to various ministries to take steps to deal with the issue.

"We have kept a Boeing 747-400 ready in Mumbai to operate an evacuation flight to China whenever we get a go ahead from the government," the source said.

Some 250 Indians are to be evacuated, the source said, adding, "we are awaiting clearances from Ministry of External Affairs and also from Health Ministry. The Health Ministry's nod is required because the operating crew has to fly in a virus outbreak territory."

At the Cabinet Secretary meeting on Monday, the government decided that steps may be taken to prepare for the possible evacuation of Indian nationals in Wuhan.

The meeting also reviewed India's preparedness to deal with coronavirus amid mounting global concern over increasing number of cases in China and several other countries.

ALSO READ | Coronavirus outbreak: Death toll jumps to 106, nearly 1,300 new cases, says China government

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.

"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.

Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus in China is a novel strain and not seen before.

The outbreak has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

Accordingly, Ministry of External Affairs will make a request to the Chinese authorities while the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Health will make arrangements for transport and quarantine facilities respectively, an official release had said on Monday.

The government also asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to issue an instruction to airlines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on all direct and indirect flight to China besides facilitating in-flight announcements and distribution of health cards to all flights with direct or indirect connectivity to China.

ALSO READ | India, China discuss plans to evacuate Indians from coronavirus-hit Wuhan

Officials said Ministry of External Affairs will make a request to the Chinese authorities for the 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, the Ministry of External Affairs will make a request to the Chinese authorities," a government statement said.

Wuhan along 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.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp