Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written to President Xi Jinping to extend his solidarity over the coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 800 people and infected nearly 40,000 in mainland China alone. In his letter the Prime Minister also expressed condolences over the deaths and offered India’s help in fighting the outbreak.
The PM also thanked his counterpart for facilitating the evacuation of over 600 Indians – many of whom were students – stranded in Wuhan. They were brought back last week over two flights made by a specially-prepared Air India jumbo jet.
On Wednesday, in an interview with news agency PTI, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said his country was ready to work with India to safeguard the health and safety of Indian citizens in China.
Several countries, including India, have moved to evacuate their citizens from China and restrict movement of people and goods to and from the country.
The Indians brought back from Wuhan have been quarantined in specially-prepared facilities around the country, such as the one set up by the Indian Army in Manesar near Delhi.
Those quarantined at a similar facility set up by the ITBP in Delhi were found to be free of infection, according to news agency ANI. These include seven Maldives nationals and a Bangladeshi who were flown back in the second Air India flight.
There have been three confirmed cases of coronavirus in India; all three were reported from Kerala and are students brought back from Wuhan. The three are in isolation wards across the state and are reportedly in stable condition.
Earlier this week two German institutes, analysed global air traffic patterns, to find India is among 20 nations most at risk of importing the virus.
Last week the centre temporarily suspended online visa facilities for Chinese nationals and foreigners living there to control movement from affected areas.
The coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, believed to have originated in a seafood market in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province, was last month declared a “global health emergency” by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Around 60 million people in Hubei province are living under lockdown.
The virus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS, which killed nearly 800 people in mainland China and Hong Kong between 2002 and 2003. Scientists hope to be testing vaccines in three months; China is testing the anti-HIV drug Aluvia as a treatment.
With input from ANI, PTI