NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday expedited preparations to evacuate its citizens stuck at the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China. It also scaled up thermal scanning of passengers at more airports. “We have begun the process to prepare for evacuation of Indian nationals affected by the situation arising out of nCorona-2019 virus outbreak in Hubei Province, China. Our @EOIBeijing is working out the logistics & is in touch with the Chinese govt. authorities & our nationals on this matter. We will continue to share updates,” foreign office spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Indian nationals in Wuhan city, which has been worst hit by the outbreak, have been asked to remain patient and await further instructions. According to sources, the exact number of Indians to evacuated is being ascertained. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said evacuated people will be quarantined for 14 days in India. According to estimates, the Indian diaspora in China is 45,000-50,000 strong with students making up a majority of them. According to the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) estimates, Wuhan University has 1,167 Indian students. The total number of Indian medical students in China is around 22,000.
The health ministry announced that thermal screening of passengers has now being extended to 20 airports of the country as against the seven earlier. The decision came on a day when two suspected cases of the virus were reported from Haryana. Over a dozen cities in China are under lockdown as the toll touched 106 with over 4,500 infected.
Zhengzhou University 1,173
Wuhan University 1,167
Chongqing University 1,519