Government mulls shifting Indians as virus spreads

Government mulls shifting Indians as Coronavirus spreads

 A student who arrived from China, proceeds to Patna Medical College and Hospital for a check-up. (PTI Photo)

The government is weighing options to evacuate nearly 250 Indian citizens from Wuhan in Hubei — the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak that has so far killed 82 people across China, sparking global alarm.

An Air India Boeing 747 was kept on standby in Mumbai earlier on Monday, so that it could fly to Wuhan to bring back Indian citizens. Sources in New Delhi, however, said the aircraft would be sent only after ensuring the safety of the Air India crew.

The Indian embassy in Beijing got in touch with Indian students in Wuhan University and other Indian citizens near the epicentre of the outbreak. The process of getting all Indian citizens to assemble might start soon, sources said.

The MEA has also contacted the Chinese government through the Chinese embassy in New Delhi seeking permission for sending the aircraft. 

Meanwhile, overseas confirmed cases were reported in Thailand (7), Japan (3), South Korea (3), the United States (3), Vietnam (2), Singapore (4), Malaysia (3), Nepal (1), France (3) and Australia (4).

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday visited Wuhan, the first visit by a top leader to the epicentre.