The Indian Army has set up a quarantine facility in the town of Manesar near Delhi to keep around 300 Indian students expected to be evacuated from the central Chinese province of Hubei, which is the epicenter of a novel coronavirus outbreak, PTI reported. An Air India aircraft was sent to Wuhan on Friday to bring back the Indian students stuck in Hubei province, the epicenter of coronavirus. The flight is expected to be back in India around 2 am on Saturday. Another special flight may depart for China from Delhi airport on Saturday.
“There was an emergency requirement to set up the facility where the students can be monitored for a duration of two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members to watch for any signs of infection,” an unidentified officer told The Times of India.
The evacuees will first be screened at an airport “by a joint team of Armed Forces Medical Services and Airport Health Authority”, the officer said. “During the screening, the students will be classified into three groups.”
The first group will be of “suspect cases” – people who have fever, cough or respiratory problems – will be directly transferred to an isolation ward at the Army Base Hospital in Delhi Cantonment. The second category will be of “close contact cases” – individuals who have visited a seafood or animal market, a health facility, or have come into contact with a Chinese person with symptoms in the last 14 days. They will be escorted in earmarked vehicles to the quarantine facility in Manesar along with the third group of “non-contact cases”.
The Manesar facility has accommodation barracks for the students, administrative areas and a medical facilities area. “To prevent any mass outbreak, the facility has been divided into sectors, each with a maximum capacity of 50 students,” said the Army officer. “Each sector has been further subdivided into barracks. The students in the different sectors will not be allowed to intermingle with each other.”
Each day the evacuees will undergo medical examination. They will be required to wear a three-layered mask at all times. People who do not show any symptoms for 14 days will be allowed to go home, and their detailed documentation will be sent to their district or state surveillance units for follow-ups.
Meanwhile, six people suspected of carrying the coronavirus infection were admitted to RML Hospital in Delhi, according to unidentified hospital officials, the Hindustan Times reported on Friday. Five of them reported to the hospital themselves. This came a day after Kerala reported India’s first positive case of infection.
At least 213 people have died of the virus in China so far, of which 204 have died in Hubei province itself. Nearly 10,000 people have been infected and 1,02,000 kept under observation. The virus has spread to 19 countries. The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the epidemic a global emergency. China has urged other countries to behave in a “responsible” manner and not overreact, PTI reported. “We are still at a very critical stage in fighting the coronavirus,” China’s Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun said on Thursday. “International solidarity is extremely important and for that purpose all countries should behave in an appropriate and responsible manner.”