Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Logistical nightmare: Indian envoy on evacuation of citizens from coronavirus-hit Wuhan

Beijing:  India's efforts to evacuate its citizens from the coronavirus-hit Hubei province and its capital Wuhan was a logistical nightmare since the entire operation had to be done in a region sealed from all sides, Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri said on Monday.

As the news of the outbreak began emerging in the middle of January, the Indian Embassy stepped up efforts to locate hundreds of Indians, mainly students, residing hundreds of kilometres apart in Hubei province and Wuhan - the epicentre of the virus outbreak, Misri said.

It was a logistical nightmare as data had to be collected about Indians stranded in the virus-hit areas while many left for home for the Chinese New Year holidays, he told PTI here.

India issued its first travel advisory on January 17 which was followed by more stringent measures including cancellation of visas for Chinese and foreigners travelled to China as the virus grew more virulent.

Misri said the embassy had to first locate the Indian citizens in Hubei province, establish contacts with them, receive their consent for a 14-day quarantine, followed by the most difficult part of the operation - to get approvals from China's central, provincial and local governments as the city and province were locked down from January 23.
10/02/20 PTI/New Indian Express

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