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India to deliver medical supplies to Wuhan

Amy Kazmin reports from New Delhi:

India will send a planeload of emergency medical supplies to Wuhan later this week to support China’s efforts to control the coronavirus, and will use the return flight to evacuate more of its citizens stranded in Hubei province, the Indian government has announced.

India had already evacuated around 650 of its citizens – on two special emergency flights – earlier in the outbreak, and sent them to special army-run quarantine centres to ensure they were not carrying the virus.
So far, none of those evacuated have tested positive, and many of the first load of evacuees – having served out their two- week quarantine – are being now being sent home.

The Indian embassy in China says it has been in touch with many Indian citizens still stranded in Hubei province who wish to return to India, and said some could be aided on the upcoming relief flight. The precise timing of the flight is yet to be confirmed.

Vikram Misri, India’s ambassador to China, had also said that subject to space and availability, New Delhi would be willing to evacuate citizens from its neighbours, and urged those interested to get in touch with the Indian embassy.

India has been gripped by images of agitated Pakistanis stranded in Hubei appealing to their government to help them get out, but Islamabad has refused, expressing confidence that Chinese authorities have the matter under control.

Islamabad’s unwillingness to help its citizens – mostly medical students – stranded in the virus-stricken region has prompted an outcry from their families, who have accused Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government of being more concerned about potentially embarrassing a powerful ally than the plight of its own people.

Nepal sent a special plane to evacuate 175 of its citizens trapped in Wuhan this weekend.

However, it remains to be seen whether Delhi will assist stranded citizens of Pakistan, its nuclear-armed neighbour, with which it engaged in an intense military confrontation a year ago.

India has so far had three confirmed cases of coronavirus, all medical students returned from Wuhan for the lunar new year holiday.

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