India brings home its citizens, others from virus-hit Wuhan and cruise ship
27 February 2020
An IAF relief flight from China today brought back 76 Indians and 36 citizens of 7 other nations while a special Air India flight brought back 119 Indians, including 113 crew members and six passengers, who were stranded on board coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship docked off Yokohama, Japan.
The C-17 Globemaster military aircraft delivered around 15 tonnes of medical assistance comprising masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment sent by India.
In its return flight, the IAF relief plane to coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan has brought back 76 Indians and 36 nationals from seven countries, tweeted external affairs minister S Jaishankar this morning.
Besides the Indians, the US-made IAF relief aircraft also evacuated nationals from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, China, South Africa, USA and Madagascar.
The C-17 Globemaster military aircraft brought around 15 tonnes of medical assistance comprising masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment sent by India.
Jaishankar described the consignment of relief material as a strong expression of India’s solidarity with the Chinese people in their “difficult time”.
The ministry of external affairs, in a statement, said that the flight which arrived in New Delhi from Tokyo, also evacuated five foreign nationals — two Sri Lankans and one each from Nepal, South Africa and Peru.
All the people brought back in the two flights are expected to undergo a 14-day quarantine in India like their previous batches to ensure that they are cleared of the COVID-19 virus.
The will all be quarantined at a facility set up by the Indian Army in Manesar, Haryana.
India operated two special Air India flights on 1 and 2 February and airlifted 647 Indian nationals, mostly students, and seven Maldivian nationals.
Wednesday’s flight was cleared by China after allegations of delay by Indian officials. China’s worst-hit Hubei province and its capital Wuhan have been under complete lockdown since 23 January.
The toll from coronavirus in China has now reached 2,715 while the number of confirmed cases jumped to 78,064, officials said on Wednesday.
In a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping on 8 February, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed India’s solidarity with the people and government of China and also offered assistance in this “hour of need as a gift”.
President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday that the situation in coronavirus-hit Wuhan city remains "complex and grim" despite the decline in the number of cases and risk of rebound cannot be overlooked, as the death toll climbed to 2,715 and confirmed cases rose to over 78,000.
China's National Health Commission (NHC) said that 52 fatalities were reported on Tuesday, all from the worst-hit Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, the lowest in three weeks.
The death toll on Wednesday climbed to 2,715 while the confirmed cases rose to 78,064, amidst strong signs of COVID-19 slowing down even at its epicentre Hubei and Wuhan, the NHC said.
Also, 406 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection were reported from all over the country while another 439 new suspected cases came to light on Tuesday.
China, meanwhile, also made consultation of regular health services done online, by which the capacity of hospitals could be intensively used for COVID-19 cases, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
However, Wuhan, the capital city of the hardest-hit province of Hubei, remains the main battlefield for prevention and control of the coronavirus epidemic in the country. Hubei and Wuhan together with over 50 million population continue to be under lockdown since January 23 with all public and private transportation remained suspended.
The coronavirus is spreading more quickly in Europe, the Middle East and other parts of the world than in China where the virus first emerged in the central city of Wuhan at the end of last year.
The number of new infections inside China was for the first time overtaken by fresh cases elsewhere on Wednesday, with Italy, Iran and South Korea emerging as new hotspots for COVID-19.
Japanese government said it will close schools nationwide to help control the spread of the new virus.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he has asked all elementary, middle and high schools to remain shut until spring holidays begin in late March.
The measure affects 12.8 million students at 34,847 schools nationwide, the education ministry said.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Switzerland has risen to four, the country's health authority said.
Iran's health ministry spokesman says the new coronavirus has killed 26 people amid 245 confirmed cases in the country.
After Iran’s deputy health minister was hit by the virus, Mojtaba Zonnour, head of Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Relations Commission says he is infected with COVID-19.
Iraq's health ministry said a young Iraqi man in Baghdad tested positive after returning from Iran.
Iraq's vital religious tourism sector was already suffering after months of protests, political turmoil and sanctions hitting pilgrims from neighbouring Iran - then the novel coronavirus arrived.
The United Kingdom said two additional patients tested positive for the new coronavirus, which was passed on in Italy and Spain's Tenerife. The latest cases raised the total number of infections to 15, including eight recovered patients.
Crew members from a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off Japan began leaving the vessel for a new quarantine on-shore after passengers left the boat, the government said.
A Korean Air flight attendant who worked on flights between Seoul and Los Angeles subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus, South Korea's disease control agency and sources said.
North Korea has postponed the new school term to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, reports said, the latest measure as the ill-equipped country ramps up efforts to prevent a devastating outbreak.
Pyongyang has not reported a single case of the COVID-19.
Estonia has confirmed its first coronavirus case in a man who returned from Iran, Russian news agencies TASS and Interfax reported on Thursday, citing Estonian health authorities.
Saudi Arabia halted travel to the holiest sites in Islam over coronavirus fears just months ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, as the Middle East recorded more than 220 confirmed cases.
Denmark has confirmed its first coronavirus infection in a man who returned from a ski holiday in northern Italy, the Danish health authority said. The man was put in isolation in his own home.
Australia will extend a travel ban on foreigners arriving from China by at least another week, Morrison said, although there was as yet no need to stop mass gatherings.