A special flight of Indian Air Force (IAF) transport aircraft evacuated a group of 112 Indians and foreign nationals from the coronavirus outbreak epicentre, Wuhan in China, early on February 27th, 2020.
Besides the Indians, the US-made IAF relief aircraft also evacuated more than a dozen of nationals from seven countries: Bangladesh, South Africa, Madagascar, Myanmar and Maldives, US and China. The majority among the foreigners were Bangladeshi students.
The C-17 Globemaster III airlifted approximately 15 tonnes of medical supplies as a goodwill gesture from the Government of India. A group of OCI card-holding Chinese citizens were also on the flight.
“76 Indian nationals are returning home on this flight, which also has on board 23 nationals from Bangladesh, 6 from China, 2 each from Myanmar and Maldives and one each from South Africa, USA and Madagascar,” Indian ambassador to China Vikram Misri tweeted.
All the evacuees will go through mandatory 14-day quarantine at facilities set up in New Delhi. India has already evacuated 647 nationals and seven Maldivians in two Air India flights in the first week of February.
All those on the first two flights have tested negative for COVID-19 and have since left the quarantine facilities. The passengers on board the third flight will also undergo similar quarantine on arrival in India.
Till now, 2,718 people died in China due to the COVID-19 outbreak and 78196 people have been reported as infected.
As per several reports, the virus is said to have originated in December 2019 in a food market in Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Experts believe the lethal virus may have first originated in bats and then passed to humans via another animal species.
To combat the spread of the deadly virus, India has temporarily suspended e-Visa facility for Chinese passport holders. e-Visa already issued to Chinese nationals is also not valid temporarily and the facility for submitting the application online for the physical visa from China is suspended.
Photo credit: @VikramMisri