An Indian Air Force plane which had taken medical supplies to China's Hubei province, whose capital Wuhan is the epicenter of the Covid-19 or Coronavirus outbreak, has returned to India with 76 Indians and 36 nationals from seven other nations.
The evacuations from China's Wuhan happened hours after an Air India flight brought back 119 Indians and five nationals of other countries from the coronavirus-hit quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, docked in Japan.
"Appreciate facilitation by the Chinese government," tweeted External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar after the Indian Air Force Plane with 112 people landed in Delhi. Of the 112, 76 were Indians and 36 were from 7 countries - Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, China, South Africa, USA and Madagascar.
On its return from Wuhan, the IAF flight has brought back 76 Indians & 36 nationals from 7 countries - Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, China, South Africa, USA and Madagascar. Appreciate facilitation by Chinese government.- Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) February 27, 2020
The 76 Indians and 36 foreigners have been sent to an ITBP facility on the outskirts of Delhi where they will be kept in quarantine for the next 14 days, just like the previous batches who returned, to ensure that they are cleared of the COVID-19 virus.
"In all 723 Indian nationals and 43 foreign nationals have been evacuated from Wuhan, China in these three flights," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
The Indian Air Force special aircraft, on Wednesday, took 15 tonnes of medical supplies to Wuhan, which is the worst-affected region for coronavirus in China. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar described the consignment of relief material as a strong expression of India's solidarity with the Chinese people in their "difficult time".
The 15 tonnes of medical supplies on board the air force's C-17 Globemaster aircraft included masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment sent by India.
Wednesday's flight was cleared by China after allegations of delay by Indian officials.
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.
"The assistance is also a mark of friendship and solidarity from the people of India towards the people of China as the two countries also celebrate 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations this year," it said.
China's worst-hit Hubei province and its capital Wuhan have been under complete lockdown since January 23. The death toll from coronavirus in China has reached 2,715 while the number of confirmed cases have jumped to 78,064, official data shows.