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Coronavirus outbreak: Air India flight carrying 324 Indians from China's Wuhan lands in Delhi
Coronavirus outbreak: Air India flight carrying 324 Indians from China's Wuhan lands in Delhi.
Air India's jumbo B747 plane, evacuating 324 Indian nationals from the novel coronavirus-hit Wuhan in China, landed here on Saturday morning, officials said.
The plane reached Delhi around 7.30 am, they said.
There were five doctors from Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital and one paramedical staff on board, said an Air India spokesperson.
The evacuees from Wuhan comprised three minors, 211 students and 110 working professionals, the spokesperson said.
The Indian Army has set up a quarantine facility in Manesar near Delhi to keep those evacuated from China's Hubei province.
Officials said they would be monitored for any signs of infection for a duration of two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members.
"With 324 passengers, special flight has taken off for India from Wuhan. It may reach Delhi at 7.30am," said the Air India spokesperson at 1.19 am on Saturday.
The flight had departed from Delhi airport at 1.17 pm on Friday to evacuate Indian nationals from China, where more than 250 people - none of them Indian - have died due to novel coronavirus.
On Friday evening, the Air India spokesperson had stated that another special flight may take off from Delhi airport on Saturday to evacuate Indians from Wuhan.
The death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak in China has risen to 259 with total confirmed cases surging to 11,791 amid stepped up efforts by a number of countries to evacuate their nationals from Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus, officials said on Saturday.
About Friday's flight, the spokesperson had said earlier during the day, "A team of five doctors from RML hospital, one paramedical staff from Air India, with prescribed medicines from doctors, masks, overcoats, packed food are in the aircraft. A team of engineers, security personnel are also there in this special aircraft. Whole rescue mission is being led by Captain Amitabh Singh, Director (Operations), Air India."
The spokesperson had added that there were five cockpit crew members and 15 cabin crew members on Friday's flight.
Before departure at Delhi airport, Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani had said, "No service will take place in the plane. Whatever food is there will be kept in seat pockets. As there will be no service, there will be no interaction (between cabin crew and passengers)."
"Masks have been arranged for the crew and passengers. For our crew, we have also arranged a complete protective gear," he had added.
"Total five doctors from the Health Ministry are also going... The plane will be there (at Wuhan airport) for 2-3 hours," Lohani had said.
Air India has done such evacuations earlier also from countries such as Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Kuwait and Nepal.