India prepares to evacuate remaining Indians from virus-hit Wuhan

PTI

Wuhan:  In this Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, photo, a medical worker in a protective suit walks by patients who diagnosed with the coronaviruses settle at a temporary hospital which transformed from an exhibition center in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. Ten more people were sickened with a new virus aboard one of two quarantined cruise ships with some 5,400 passengers and crew aboard, health officials in Japan said Thursday, as China reported 73 more deaths and announced that the first group of patients were expected to start taking a new antiviral drug.  (AP/PTI Photo)

Wuhan: In this Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, photo, a medical worker in a protective suit walks by patients who diagnosed with the coronaviruses settle at a temporary hospital which transformed from an exhibition center in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province. (AP/PTI Photo)

India is preparing to evacuate a large group of its citizens, who are stuck in China’s coronavirus-hit Wuhan city, by a special IAF plane, which is expected to land there with relief medical supplies on Wednesday.

“We are working on our plan for operating the relief flight tomorrow,” said an Indian Embassy message sent to the Indians who have enrolled to go by the special flight.

About 90 to 100 Indians were expected to board the flight.

India has also expressed its willingness to evacuate citizens from the neighbourhood countries.

India had announced plans to send Indian Air Force’s largest plane C-17 Globemaster with medical supplies to China several days ago.

Indian officials have blamed China for not granting the requisite clearance, a charge Beijing denies.

However, officials here said on Tuesday that the special flight is expected to land in Wuhan on Wednesday as necessary permissions are being obtained. It is bringing relief supplies like medical gloves, suits and other materials to be used in efforts to combat the COVID-19 in China.

The death toll from coronavirus has reached 2,663 while the number of confirmed cases jumped to 77,658, Chinese officials said on Tuesday.

India operated two special Air India flights on February 1 and 2 and airlifted 647 Indian nationals, mostly students, and seven Maldivian nationals.

About 100 people were expected to join the third flight which would take them to Delhi where they would undergo quarantine in special camps.

The previous batches were kept at an army camp in Manesar.

In a special note for the Indians in Wuhan and Hubei province who wanted to be evacuated, the mission informed them that arrangements are being made to pick them up and take them to airport.

“Embassy representatives who are already in touch with you individually will directly advise you regarding the exact time of pick up. We are making arrangements for your pick up and onward movement to Wuhan airport by vehicles hired by the Embassy,” the note said.

“You are requested to prepare for departure tomorrow morning bearing in mind the points mentioned in the advisory already issued on this group,” the note told the Indians.

“Kindly note that these arrangements are still tentative and subject to change. We appreciate your understanding and patience,” it said.

Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri recently said that the previous evacuations were difficult and a logistical nightmare as Hubei province and its capital Wuhan were under lockdown since January 23 with a complete ban on transportation services.

(PTI)