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India evacuates 236 from Wuhan, Japan: Vardhan

India evacuates 236 from Wuhan, Japan: Vardhan

New Delhi, Feb 27 (UNI) India has evacuated 124 people from Japan and 112 from Wuhan, including 76 Indians and 36 foreign nationals from the COVID-19 affected province in China, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan said here on Thursday.

"As many as 124 people have been evacuated from Japan, including 119 Indian citizens and five nationals from Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru, by an Air India flight. They were quarantined onboard the Diamond Princess Cruise ship at Yokohama, due to COVID-19.

'In addition, 112 people have been evacuated from Wuhan, the epicentre of COVID-19 outbreak, by an IAF flight. These include 76 Indian citizens and 36 nationals from countries, such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, China, South Africa, Madagascar and the US," Dr Vardhan said.

While the evacuees, who reached India from Japan on Thursday will be quarantined at the Army camp in Manesar, those from Wuhan will be housed at the ITBP facility at Chhawla, the Minister added.

An Indian Air Force C17 Globemaster landed in Wuhan on Wednesday, carrying 15 tonnes of medical aid, to help China with the epidemic.

The flight, on its return, ferried 76 Indians and 36 foreign nationals.

Meanwhile, an Air India flight from Tokyo landed in Delhi early this morning, carrying 119 Indian nationals and five people from Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted.

Of the 138 Indians on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess, 119 out of 122 who were tested and found negative as per the latest PCR test, have been brought back, as three Indian nationals opted not to come back.

All other 16 are in hospitals in Japan, getting treatment and quarantined.

"The Indian Government, as an expression of solidarity with Chinese people in this difficult time, has also sent a consignment of 15 tonnes of Indian medical relief for COVID-19 to Wuhan," the minister added.

"Apart from expressing gratitude, I am extremely proud of the way multiple ministries, our armed forces, our doctors, Air India, our embassies, both at China and Japan, and the many unseen who worked behind the scenes, made this happen.

'All have put India and the Indians first. Salutations to the collaborative and dedicated efforts of all these agencies,' he added.

The Minister highlighted that India had volunteered and evacuated nationals from other countries also, while undertaking the evacuation from both Japan and Wuhan.

He said in view of the evolving global situation regarding the spread of COVID-19, in addition to the previous travel advisories, Indians have been advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Singapore, South Korea, Iran and Italy.

Also, people coming from South Korea, Iran and Italy or having such travel history since February 10, will be quarantined for 14 days on arrival to India.

Dr Vardhan also stated that senior Health Ministry officers of the rank of Joint Secretary and above are visiting states to assess their preparedness for surveillance and management of COVID-19.

"These visits shall ensure strengthening of the State surveillance machinery and to address their concerns, if any. A checklist is provided to them for compliance. They will submit the report by March 2," he added.

So far, as many as 4,82,927 passengers have been screened from 4,787 flights as on date. Screening at 21 airports, 12 major seaports and 65 minor seaports and land crossings, particularly bordering Nepal, is continuing.

Passengers are further monitored under community surveillance through the IDSP network on a daily basis. A total of 23,531passengers are at present under community surveillance through IDSP, an official statement said here.

Besides, of the 2,836 samples sent for testing, 2,830 were found negative, three were earlier found positive in Kerala (these have recovered and have been discharged) and three are under testing.

All 645 evacuees at the earlier camps at Manesar and Chhawla were discharged on February 18.

UNI SD 1603

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