Beijing: The Indian authorities are in talks with Chinese authorities to evacuate 250 Indians stuck in the coronavirus-hit China’s city- Wuhan and Hubei.
According to sources, the diplomats in the Indian Embassy have held a meeting with the authorities in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China on Monday.
So far the death toll in China has climbed to 82 with at least 2,744 confirmed cases mostly in Wuhan and other Chinese cities.
“In the meeting, Chinese authorities briefed on the steps taken by them to contain the spread of coronavirus outbreak. Various options for evacuating foreign nationals from Wuhan/Hubei province were also discussed,” the embassy officials said.
“We continue to engage with the Chinese authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of Indian nationals in Hubei province. We will update you when we have more information from the Chinese authorities,” read the circular posted by authorities.
Addressing other issues like food, water and other essential supplies, the embassy said Hubei Foreign Affairs Office has provided two helplines (027-87122256 and 87811173) on which the provincial authorities can be contacted round the clock.
“You may approach them on issues that you may face there. However, please also let us know about your concern with specific details so that we are also able to take it up with the authorities in Hubei,” it said.
According to sources, the coronavirus hit Wuhan city has nearly 700 Indian students, a majority of them studying medicine, others pursuing doctorates from universities in the city and nearby areas.
Reports said a majority of students have left the Wuhan city weeks ago to avail the Chinese New Year holidays while over 250 to 300 Indian students are reportedly stuck in the city.
China’s Wuhan and 12 other cities are completely sealed to stop the virus from spreading.
In the wake of concerns for Indians still stuck in China, the Indian Embassy here in the last few days has set up two hotlines for the students in Wuhan to extend assistance and took up it up with the local officials about proper supply of food and other necessities for them.
The embassy also tweeted on Monday that in addition to the three hotlines (+8618610952903, +8618612083629, +8618612083617), it has also opened a dedicated email ID, firstname.lastname@example.org, to deal with the ongoing emergency.
The embassy also requested some of the stranded Indians to furnish the details of their passports.
Meanwhile, expectations for early evacuation increased after the Chinese government permitted the US to airlift its Wuhan-based diplomats and Americans citizens. France, UK and South Korea are also trying to airlift their citizens stuck in Wuhan.