China on Monday said it will evacuate its citizens “who have difficulties” and want to return home from India amid the coronavirus crisis, reported NDTV. A notice by the Chinese embassy in India said students, tourists and businessmen who have been stranded in India will be allowed to fly back to China on special flights but at their own expense.
“Through the unified arrangement of the ministry of foreign affairs and relevant departments, the Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in India will assist international students in India, tourists, temporary business visitors who have difficulties and are in urgent need to take a temporary flight back home to China,” the notice read.
Beijing has asked its citizens willing to return to China to register by May 27, reported Hindustan Times. The notice also mentioned the safety measures that the flyers need to take. Only those who have not been diagnosed with the infection or have no symptoms of coronavirus like fever or cough in the last 14 days will be allowed. “If your body temperature exceeds 37.3 degrees (inclusive) before boarding or if you have suspected symptoms, you will be refused boarding by the airline,” the notice read. The flyers will have to accept all quarantine and epidemic prevention arrangements, it added.
According to a tentative flight schedule, the first flight is from New Delhi to Shanghai on June 2, reported The Hindu. Other routes are Mumbai-Chongqing, Kolkata-Jinan, Delhi-Guangzhou and Mumbai-Zhengzhou.
The notice came on a day when India became one of the top 10 countries with the maximum number of cases. India’s tally went up to 1.38 lakh on Monday after the country registered 6,977 new infections. The toll in the country is 4,021 as of Monday. For the last four days, India has been registering a record daily spike in cases, even as India has relaxed the lockdown guidelines to gradually open up the economy.
The notice also came at a time when tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control have heightened. Earlier this month, there were reports of China pitching tents near river Galwan, which was also a flash point between New Delhi and Beijing during the 1962 war. Indian and Chinese soldiers were also involved in a face-off on May 9. Just days before that, the Indian Army had alleged that Chinese soldiers were resorting to aggression along the Ladakh border, following which there was a physical fight between the two sides.
On Thursday, India had strongly contested China’s claims that its soldiers had crossed the Line of Actual Control and entered Chinese territory. The United States had also sided with India and said that tension along the LAC was a reminder of the fact that Chinese aggression can be real, not merely rhetorical.
In February, India had evacuated around 700 Indians from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first case of coronavirus was reported. The disease has now spread to more than 190 countries, infecting over 54 lakh people and killing 3.4 lakh.