As part of India’s ‘neighbourhood first policy’, the special flight also evacuated five foreign nationals. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
New Delhi :
India successfully evacuated its citizens stuck on the coronavirus-hit cruise ship docked off at Japan’s Yokohama on Thursday. A special Air India flight from Tokyo landed in New Delhi on Thursday morning bringing back 119 Indian nationals (113 crew members and 6 passengers) who were on-board the Diamond Princess Cruise ship docked off at Yokohama in Japan. As part of India’s ‘neighbourhood first policy’, the special flight also evacuated five foreign nationals—two Sri Lankans, one Nepalese, one South African and one Peruvian. All the evacuees will undergo a 14-day quarantine at the special facility set up by the Indian Army in Haryana’s Manesar.
Meanwhile, three Indian crew members didn't board the special flight and said that they wish to continue their stay on-board the cruise ship to complete the period of extended quarantine put in place by the Government of Japan. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar informed about the development on Twitter.
Air India flight has just landed in Delhi from Tokyo,carrying 119 Indians & 5 nationals from Sri Lanka,Nepal, South Africa&Peru who were quarantined onboard the #DiamondPrincess due to #COVID19. Appreciate the facilitation of Japanese authorities.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) February 26, 2020
Thank you @airindiain once again
Out of the total 138 Indian nationals originally on-board the Diamond Princess, 16 Indian crew members have tested positive for Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) and are receiving necessary medical care and treatment at onshore medical facilities in Japan. Embassy of India in Tokyo has established contact with these individuals and is continuously following-up on their recovery.
The ship was put under quarantine by Government of Japan on February 5 for 14 days until February 19, as one of the passengers who had disembarked from the ship had tested positive for COVID-19. The quarantine period was extended by the Government of Japan as the crew members were performing their regular duties during the initial quarantine period of 14 days.
Apart form evacuating its citizens, India has been consistently sending relief material to Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. In one of the tweets, Jaishankar said that a special Indian Air Force mission with 15 tonne of relief material was sent to Wuhan. “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 Chinese government,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, China on Thursday reported 29 more deaths from the new coronavirus epidemic, the lowest daily figure in almost a month, and the number of fresh infections rose slightly. The death toll now stands at 2,744 in mainland China, according to the National Health Commission.
Pakistan that had refused to evacuate its students stuck in Wuhan has now confirmed first two cases of the novel coronavirus as the deadly infection reached the country despite all out efforts to keep it away. "We have two confirmed cases of the coronavirus and both patients are under treatment as per clinical standard protocols and they are stable at the moment," Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, told reporters in Quetta late on Wednesday night.
He said there was "no need to panic" as the "things are under control". "One case has been reported from Sindh while the second one was confirmed in the Federal areas," he said, adding that both patients had returned from Iran recently.
(With agency inputs)