Govt prepares to airlift Indians from China as coronavirus threat looms

Centre is going to make a request to Chinese authorities for evacuations of Indian nationals, especially students, stuck in Wuhan; reports say over 250 to 300 Indian students are stuck in Wuhan, triggering concerns over their well-being

Coronavirus has spread to every province in China Coronavirus has spread to every province in China

The Indian government has decided to evacuate over 250 Indians from the Chinese city of Wuhan where the outbreak of deadly coronavirus has killed several people. Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, in a meeting, has decided to take a series of precautionary measures, including screening of people at international airports, coming from China, as well as integrated check posts across the border with Nepal.

The Ministry of External Affairs is also going to make a request to the Chinese authorities for evacuations of Indian nationals, especially students, stuck in Wuhan. As per reports, over 250 to 300 Indian students are reportedly stuck in Wuhan triggering concerns over their well-being.

The civil aviation ministry has been told to ask the airlines to make in-flight announcements and distribute "health cards" to all flights with direct or indirect connectivity to China. The home ministry has been asked to ensure integrated check posts initiate screening of visitors across the Nepal border.

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"States have been requested to provide health staff for these check posts. SSB/BSF/immigration officers manning integrated check posts have been sensitised," the statement said.

The Union health ministry has also urged passengers who have a travel history to China since January 1 to come forward for self-reporting at the nearest health facility if they experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, respiratory distress etc. The ministry has issued a 24X7 helpline number for any query on coronavirus, which is 91-11-23978046.

"A signage display for advising travellers from China for self-declaration in case of symptoms of coronavirus, is put up at Trichy airport", health ministry tweeted.

Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan spoke to chief secretaries and police chiefs of the five states bordering Nepal -- Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim to review their preparedness for prevention and management of the coronavirus.

Till Sunday, 29,707 passengers arriving in India in 137 flights have been screened for novel coronovirus infection symptoms and no case has so far been detected in India, officials said.

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What is coronavirus virus

The coronavirus, which was first discovered in the city of Wuhan in December, has spread to every province in China. The new coronavirus-named 2019-nCoV-is thought to have originated in the food market of the central China metropolis and has since infected more than two thousand people.

Symptoms of coronavirus

According to the World Health Organisation, the common symptoms of the virus strain include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

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Also read: Coronavirus outbreak: More than 2000 people infected globally, 56 dead in China