First batch of 200 Wuhan evacuees, including 7 Maldivians out of quarantine
18 February 2020
The first batch of evacuees, including seven Maldivian nationals, from China’s Wuhan who were quarantined at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) facility in Chhawla near Delhi, were discharged on Monday night after their samples tested negative for coronavirus.
These seven were evacuated from China’s Wuhan, along with Indian citizens, evacuated by the Indian government from China last month, will depart for their homes today.
Two hundred other people, who had tested negative for coronavirus infection, have been discharged from the ITBP quarantine facility on Monday.
The seven Maldivians had arrived in India alongside 323 Indians on a special Air India flight which had been sent to China as part of an evacuation operation undertaken by the Indian government. More than 600 Indians had been evacuated from China in two special operations.
Immediately upon their arrival in the national capital, the Maldivians and the Indians were sent to quarantine facilities run by the Indian Army and ITBP, where they stayed for a period of more than two weeks.
A total of 406 people, including 192 women, 204 men and seven children were evacuated from China and kept at the ITBP Chhawla camp for 17 days. Doctors say they took precaution beyond the usually required quarantine of 14 days. All inmates were screened three times and were given discharge certificates only after they tested negative in all of them.
A team of 44 doctors, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and specialists in quarantine facilities looked after the group. Chief Medical Officer Dr AP Joshi, who has been with the ITBP since 1997, calls this his toughest assignment till date.
“We were given two days to get this facility ready. There was no electricity and water connection then. The building was barely ready. Plus, there was the complication of the virus itself. My 82-year-old father would call me three times a day to check. My juniors and friends were all worried for my safety. But we managed it all successfully. Words are not enough to describe the feelings right now,” CNN-News18 quoted Dr Joshi as saying.
As a goodwill gesture, the ITBP presented a rose and a calendar to each of the person leaving the facility. There are seven children including an infant in the group, it said.
The disease, which has been officially named Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), first originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has since then killed more than 1,800 people in that country alone. At least 11,741 remain severely ill from the infection.
There are nearly 800 confirmed cases in 25 countries outside China with three deaths.
A team of medical experts from WHO, including from the US, will visit Beijing and the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Sichuan in south and southwest China to assess the country’s efforts to contain the spread of the Covid-19.