Mumbai/Delhi: 324 passengers, comprising 211 students and 110 working professionals and three minors, who returned from China’s Wuhan province, the epicentre of deadly coronavirus, by Air India’s special flight, landed at Delhi airport on Saturday morning.
AI’s special flight which had left Delhi airport at 1.17 PM on Friday, returned at 7.30 AM on Saturday. The rescue team comprised five doctors from Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, one paramedical staff, five cockpit crew members, and 15 cabin crew members, an Air India spokesperson said.
Another special flight to evacuate Indians from Wuhan, was in the process of departing from the Delhi airport on Saturday, with a different set of crew and same doctors’ team at the time of filing this report. The rescue team is again headed by Capt Amitabh Singh, Director Operation, Air India.
The evacuees who returned from Wuhan, were taken to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Chhawla Camp in south-west Delhi, that houses ITBP headquarters. They will be kept in isolation for 14 days at the camp for medical observation. ITBP has created a 600-bedded facility at an unoccupied residential unit reserved for its personnel. A team of 25 doctors, 15 from Safdarjung hospital and 10 from ITBP is at the facility. Besides special arrangements have been made to host children and women at the facility.
The Indian Army too has created similar facility near Manesar, Gurgaon, Haryana, where the students can be monitored for any signs of infection for a duration of two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members. If any person is suspected to be infected, that individual will be shifted to the isolation ward at the Base Hospital in Delhi Cantt. The building complex has operational kitchens and bathrooms apart from modern amenities like Wi-Fi.
The stranded people include 27 Indian students pursuing M.B.B.S degree course, in Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Hubei. They hail from Assam, Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal and J & K. The 7 students from Maharashtra hail from Pune, Pimpri –Chinchwad, Latur, Yavatmal, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Nanded.
In a related development, the family of 22 year old Manir Hossain, from Tripura claimed that their son Manir died due to coronavirus in Malaysia. Hailing from Purthal Rajnagar in South Tripura, Manir had gone to Malaysia two years back for job. His parents have contacted Sepahijala administration to bring his mortal remains to India. However Tripura officials have denied to have any knowledge of Manir been died due to coronavirus saying that there had been no communication from Malaysian authorities. Still Manir’s medical history will bee checked, they have said.
At Mumbai airport, authorities have began making passengers coming from China and Hong Kong to undergo thermal scanning before they enter immigration. A team is “conducting universal thermal screening for all passengers of flights coming directly from China and Hongkong. For other international arriving flights, only the self declared passengers are screened using thermal camera,” the airport officials said and added that “In case the passenger has symptoms of Coronavirus infection, he/she is being quarantined and sent to designated hospital. Thermal scanners use heat sensors and can spot people with high temperature levels.
IndiGo and Air India have suspended some flights to China and Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific has suspended some flights to mainland China but is operating to Hong Kong. “Rwandair”
has suspended flights from its capital Kigali to Guangzhou.
The union Shipping Ministry has also advised all ports to scan people disembarking from ships to prevent spreading of the coronavirus through sea route. “India has already issued advisories and put processes in place on coronavirus. The situation is monitored closely at the top level,” Satinder Pal Singh, joint secretary in the shipping ministry said during the Annual Shipping Conclave, organised by the Bengal Chamber in Kolkata on Friday.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has banned export of all varieties of personal protection equipment including clothing and masks used to protect the wearer from air borne particles and/or any other respiratory masks or any other personal protective clothing (including coveralls and N95 masks) with immediate effect till further orders, DGFT said in a notification.
While World Health Organisation has declared global emergency to fight against the coronavirus, the death toll in China due to the out break of the disease has risen to 259 with total confirmed cases surging to 11,791 amid stepped up efforts by a number of countries to evacuate their nationals from Hubei province, officials said on Saturday.