An Air India flight will evacuate around 400 Indians stranded in China’s Wuhan since the start of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The Boeing 747 jumbo jet from its Mumbai hub for this purpose.
The plane, which is carrying special medical kits put together by the Health Ministry, will reach Wuhan in approximately six hours and will spend between two and three hours in China before returning at around 2 am Friday.
The Indian brought back from Wuhan will spend 14 days at isolation centres in Delhi and Manesar, to ensure there is no danger of the infection spreading.
The plane is carrying five doctors and a paramedic. It is also carrying special medical kits, prepared by the Union Health Ministry, in addition to gloves, masks and medicines.
Doctors and crew will wear full protective fear and have been instructed to refrain from leaving the aircraft and to only allow non-infected people to board the plane.
Crew members – pilots, engineers and doctors will be isolated at home for a week upon return and will have to report to an isolation ward if they show symptoms.
India reported its first case yesterday a student who returned to Kerala from Wuhan University. “The patient had returned from Wuhan and is now kept in isolation at General Hospital in Thrissur. She is stable,” KK Shailaja, the Kerala Health Minister, said.
Three more suspected cases are in isolation wards across the city in northern Kerala. In addition, over 800 others are under surveillance at their homes for possible exposure. Possible cases are also being monitored in isolation wards in various cities, including Delhi and Mumbai.
Over 200 people have died in this outbreak, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) called a “global health emergency”. The new virus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS, which killed nearly 800 people in mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-03.
Scientists hope to be testing vaccines in three months. China is testing the HIV drug Aluvia as a treatment. Like other respiratory infections, it spreads between people in droplets from coughs and sneezes. It has an incubation of between one and 14 days, and there are signs it may spread before symptoms show.