MEA makes formal request to China to help evacuate Indians from Wuhan


New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during a press conference (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during a press conference (PTI Photo)

The Ministry of External Affairs has made a formal request to China for facilitating the evacuation of Indians from Wuhan, the epicentre of novel coronavirus outbreak, the Health Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Civil Aviation Ministry will make necessary arrangements for evacuation after the approval of Chinese authorities is received, it said.

Air India has kept a 423-seater jumbo plane ready in Mumbai for evacuating Indian citizens from Wuhan city, an official source said on Tuesday.

The Indian embassy in Beijing is in contact with the Indian nationals.

“On evacuation, these individuals will be kept in quarantine for 14 days. Necessary arrangements in this regard are being made,” the statement said.

The Health Ministry is procuring more thermal scanners for the faster screening of passengers for exposure to novel coronavirus.

Four more labs, besides NIV Pune, have been geared up for testing clinical samples, it said.

Till Monday, 155 flights were screened with a total of 33552 passengers. Samples of 20 passengers have so far been tested by NIV Pune and all were found negative, the statement said.

It also said that Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Tuesday reviewed the preparedness to deal with the deadly virus. The meeting was informed that the Ministry of Shipping has initiated screening at all major ports.

Screening of passengers with “travel history” from China has been extended to 13 more airports, taking the total to 20.

The Health Ministry is reviewing the preparedness and screening in all the states on a daily basis through video conferencing with chief secretaries and state health secretaries.