India evacuates 112 people from China, 124 from Japan
New Delhi: India on Thursday brought back 112 people from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan and another group of 124 from Tokyo who were on board a cruise ship off the Japanese coast, taking the total number of evacuees in view of the spread of the deadly outbreak to 842.
A C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft of Indian Air Force evacuated 76 Indians and 36 foreign nationals from Wuhan while an Air India flight brought back the group of 124 people from Tokyo.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the Indian embassy in Tehran is trying to reach out to Indian students in Iran following reports of rising cases of coronavirus in that country.
"The evacuation of our people from Wuhan and Tokyo demonstrated that if Indian diaspora or Indians are in trouble abroad, the Ministry of External Affairs will do its best to bring them home," he said at a weekly media briefing.
India had evacuated around 650 people from Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus in China, in two separate flights around a month ago.
The foreign nationals evacuated from Wuhan on Thursday included 23 from Bangladesh, six from China, two each from Myanmar and Maldives and one each from South Africa, the US and Madagascar. The six Chinese persons were spouses and children of three Indians evacuated from Wuhan. Besides 119 Indians, the people evacuated from Japan included two from Sri Lanka and one each from Nepal, South Africa and Peru. The group was among 3,711 people who were on board coronavirus-infected Diamond Princess ship when it docked at the Yokohama port near Tokyo on February 3.
"In line with India's neighbourhood first policy and Indo-Pacific vision, the special flight also evacuated five foreign nationals -- two Sri Lankans, one Nepalese, one South African and one Peruvian," the External Affairs Ministry said.
Three Indian crew members didn't board the Air India flight as they conveyed their wish to continue their stay on-board the cruise ship to complete the period of extended quarantine put in place by the Japanese government.
Out of the total 138 Indian nationals originally on-board Diamond Princess, 16 Indian crew members have tested positive for coronavirus-and are receiving medical care at an onshore medical facility in Japan. All the evacuees will undergo a 14-day quarantine at two separate facilities -- one at Manesar and another at Chawla camp.
India sent the C-17 Globemaster to Wuhan on Wednesday and it carried 15 tonnes of medical supplies for coronavirus-affected people in China.
On its return, the aircraft brought back 112 people including 23 citizens from Bangladesh, six from China, two each from Myanmar and the Maldives and one each from South Africa, the US and Madagascar. Earlier, India had evacuated around 650 Indians from Wuhan in two Air India flights.
"In all 723 Indian nationals and 43 foreign nationals have been evacuated from Wuhan, China in these three flights," the MEA said.
On the medical supplies delivered by India to China, the MEA said they will help augment the country's efforts to control the coronavirus outbreak which has been declared as a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation.