Coronavirus: MEA informed about students from Guj in China

(Eds: Adding quotes and other details) Ahmedabad, Jan 31 (PTI) The Gujarat government has shared with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Indian Embassy in China the information about over 200 students from the state, who are currently in the neighbouring country and want to return after the outbreak of novel coronavirus there, officials said on Friday.

The State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) in Gujarat has collected and shared the information about these students and a few other people from the state living in China.

'The SEOC control room in Gandhinagar has shared the details about 215 persons, mostly students, with the MEA and the Indian Embassy in China to help the authorities in bringing them back,' Deputy Collector, SEOC, Trupti Vyas said.

'We had received phone calls from the parents and relatives of these 215 persons. The parents inquired about the steps being taken by the government in bringing back the students from China, and also about the airline bookings and connecting flights,' she said.

All the parents were given the contact numbers of the Indian Embassy in China for any other inquiry about their children, Vyas added.

Three days back, the Gujarat government had announced that students and other travellers from Gujarat, who are currently in China, as well as their parents here could contact the SEOC control room on 079-23251900 to seek the government's help or share any other information.

'We collected all the necessary information, such as name, address and contact numbers of the parents here and their children in China. We sent this data about the 215 persons and their relatives to the MEA and the Indian Embassy,' Vyas said, adding that so far, 43 persons, most of whom are students, have returned to Gujarat from China.

She said that one student had managed to get an air ticket for his travel from China to Delhi, but could not get confirmed railway ticket from Delhi to Gujarat, following which his parents started calling the SEOC.

'After our request to the railway officials, they confirmed the ticket so that the student could reach Gujarat without any hassle,' Vyas added.

The government officials said that no case of coronavirus has been found in the state so far.

The preliminary health screening of 43 persons, who arrived in Gujarat from China over the last few days, did not show any symptoms of novel coronavirus infection, officials have said.

The state government has tied up with the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune to check the samples for detection of possible coronavirus cases.

The state health department has put in place a round- the-clock screening facility, with a thermal scanner, at Ahmedabad airport to detect possible cases of coronavirus and also set up an isolation ward in a civil hospital here to treat patients suspected of contracting the infection. PTI PJT PD NP NP