New Delhi: An Indian Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport plane embarked on a special flight to China’s Wuhan, the epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak, and delivered the country with 15 tonnes of medical supplies to fight the epidemic. In its return flight, the gigantic transport plane evacuated 76 Indian and 36 foreign nationals, who were stranded on the city, and landed in New Delhi on Thursday morning. The external affairs minister, S Jaishankar, revealed this in a tweet.
He tweeted: “On its return from Wuhan, the IAF flight has brought back 76 Indians & 36 nationals from 7 countries - Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, China, South Africa, USA and Madagascar. Appreciate facilitation by the Chinese government. [Sic]” Jaishankar had earlier described the consignment of relief material as a strong expression of “India’s solidarity with the Chinese people in their difficult time”.
Apart from the 76 Indian nationals, the flight also evacuated 36 foreigners. Among the foreigners, there were 23 Bangladeshi nationals, six Chinese, two Burmese, two Maldivians and one each from Madagascar, South Africa, and United States. The six Chinese are stated to be the spouses and family members of the Indians.
It must be noted that Beijing had delayed granting permission to India to carry out this evacuation mission.
After landing, the evacuees were screened for body temperature and were then taken to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police quarantine facility in Delhi’s Chhawla.
Air India evacuates coronavirus-hit cruise ship
Meanwhile, an Air India special flight repatriated Indian crew and passengers from coronavirus-hit cruise ship Diamond Princess, which is currently docked in Japan’s Yokohama with the passengers quarantined in it. On Thursday, the AI plane landed in New Delhi with 119 Indians and five foreigners who were on board the ship. The foreigners included two from Sri Lanka and one each from Nepal, Peru, and South Africa.
On this, the foreign minister S Jaishankar tweeted: “Air India flight has just landed in Delhi from Tokyo, carrying 119 Indians & 5 nationals from Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru who were quarantined onboard the Diamond Princess due to COVID19. Appreciate the facilitation of Japanese authorities. Thank you Air India once again. [Sic]”
The evacuees were screened for body temperature and were then taken to a medical facility set up by the Indian Army at Haryana’s Manesar, where they will spend 14 days in quarantine.
India had earlier sent two special Air India flights to Wuhan – on February 1 and 2 – and airlifted 647 Indian nationals, mostly students, and seven Maldivian nationals.