Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to arrange a special flight to airlift Indians stranded in Wuhan city of China amid a shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, ANI reported.
“We have information from the relatives of the students from Kerala studying at various Universities in Wuhan, that the situation is grave,” Vijayan said in a letter to Modi. “It is also reported that Yichang area has also been affected.”
The toll due to the coronavirus outbreak in China rose to 80 on Monday and the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 2,744. Health authorities around the world are racing to prevent a pandemic due to the virus.
The chief minister said it would be appropriate to operate a special flight to Wuhan or a nearby functional airport and airlift Indian nationals stranded there. He also requested Modi to give necessary instructions to the Indian Embassy in China to act proactively and provide necessary assistance to Indians, including people from Kerala stranded in Wuhan and Yichang.
Vijayan also offered medical assistance from Kerala in case Indians being evacuated need help.
Nearly 200 people have been kept under observation in Kerala and Maharashtra, following screening for possible exposure to the virus. The Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday reviewed India’s preparedness to deal with the situation. India has also requested China to permit over 250 Indian students stuck in Wuhan to leave the city.
Gao Fu, the director-general of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention had said on Sunday that Indian authorities should “swiftly separate” from their families students who have returned to the country from China and exhibit symptoms of the illness. Gao said that for those not experiencing symptoms, home quarantine would be sufficient.
The coronavirus is part of same family as the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and the Middle East respiratory syndrome, and has spread to the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Australia, France, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Nepal, Singapore and Canada.
The newly identified virus is believed to have originated late last year in a Wuhan market illegally selling wildlife.