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Special Air India plane ready to get out Indians trapped in Wuhan | India News


NEW DELHI: India will request China for a possible evacuation of over 250 Indians from Wuhan, the government said after a review meeting by the cabinet secretary to evaluate the situation arising out of the new coronavirus outbreak in the neighbouring country.

“It was decided that steps may be taken to prepare for possible evacuation of Indian nationals in Wuhan. Accordingly, the ministry of external affairs will make a request to the Chinese authorities,” the government said. Ministries of civil aviation and health will make arrangements for transport and quarantine facilities, respectively.

Air India is preparing to operate a special flight on its Boeing 747 from Mumbai to Wuhan to fly out Indians from there. While the flight was scheduled to depart at 5pm on Monday, the airline was awaiting clearances from various places, including the airport in Wuhan, to operate the special flight. “We are in a state of preparedness. Our crew, medical teams and supplies are ready for the flight. But Wuhan is in a state of lockdown and services there are hit.

Many Indian students still stuck in Wuhan

There is the issue of how people will reach the airport. All these issues are being sorted out with the help of the Indian embassy. As soon as we get all the clearances, we will operate the special flight,” said a source.

Many Indians, mostly medical students, are stuck in Wuhan — the epicentre of the new China virus – triggering concern for Indian authorities. With the number of cases increasing rapidly and amid mounting scare of a wider outbreak, Chinese authorities sealed Wuhan along with 12 other cities last week to stop the virus from spreading. The death toll climbed to 80 with 2,744 confirmed cases. The virus has now also spread to other countries with cases reported from the US, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Nepal.

On Monday, cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a high-level review meeting to assess India’s preparedness to deal with coronavirus. The meeting decided to take a raft of precautionary measures, including the screening of people at international ports having traffic from China as well as at the integrated check-posts across the Nepal border.

The meeting chaired by Gauba also decided that the civil aviation ministry will issue instructions to airlines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on all flights with direct or indirect connectivity to China. Officials said the civil aviation ministry will also ask the airlines to make in-flight announcements and distribute “health cards” to all flights with direct or indirect connectivity to China. The health ministry also held a meeting earlier on Monday with chief secretaries to review the preparedness in five states having border with Nepal.

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