The Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday confirmed that 255 Indians were infected with the novel coronavirus in Iran and the total number of Indians with the virus abroad is 276.
In a written response to the Lok Sabha, the ministry said that apart from the 255 Indian patients in Iran, there were 12 cases in the United Arab Emirates and five in Italy. One case each was confirmed in Hong Kong, Kuwait, Rwanda and Sri Lanka.
Scroll.in had reported on Tuesday that at least 254 Indian pilgrims stranded in Iran have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a list shared by an Indian embassy official with pilgrims. Several pilgrims, including one who tested positive, told Scroll.in that the list was shared on Sunday on a WhatsApp group consisting of pilgrims and Indian government officials. The pilgrims claimed Indian embassy officials in Iran have assured them that all those stranded will be airlifted back to India in the next few days.
However, the foreign ministry had on Tuesday refused to confirm or deny the list. When asked about Indian patients in Iran at the government briefing on Tuesday, Dammu Ravi, additional secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, had said: “Of course in a situation like that, you will find some positive cases given the extensive spread of the virus in Iran. Rest assured that every care is being taken by the mission in cooperating and coordinating with the government of Iran for safety of Indians there.”
The total number of novel coronavirus cases in India was officially at 147 on Wednesday, while Noida reported its fourth case and two more tested positive in Bengaluru. The person in Noida has a travel history to Indonesia.
The COVID-19 disease has infected 1,97,121 people, and 7,916 have been killed because of it worldwide, according to an estimate from Johns Hopkins University, which is live-tracking cases reported by the World Health Organization and additional sources. WHO has urged South Asian nations to scale up “aggressive measures” against the disease.