Coronavirus outbreak: Indian embassy in China asks passport details of stranded citizens, Air India on standby for rescue ops

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Coronavirus crisis: Indian passport holders in China, pay attention! With numerous Indians stranded in China, the Indian Embassy in China has taken cognizance of the fact that several Indians have submitted their passports to Chinese authorities for work permits, visa extensions and other reasons and do not have physical possession of their passports. In an attempt to provide relief to such citizens, the Indian embassy has asked such citizens to provide their names, passport numbers, the authority to which the passport was submitted and the date on which it was submitted. The Embassy also gave the details of the official to whom the information should be provided.

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Meanwhile, India's national carrier Air India has kept a Boeing 747 plane on standby to evacuate Indians as per news reports on TV. The carrier is now awaiting the Indian government's decision to get into action. More details are awaited on the matter.

The Chinese government on January 23 sealed off Wuhan, which is the epicentre of the outbreak of coronavirus, along with 12 other cities, leaving numerous Indians stranded in the country. Earlier, the Indian government said that they are looking at possible options to bring back the stranded Indians. The government is also talking to the Chinese authorities on regarding this. According to the current updates, no Indian national in China has contracted coronavirus as yet.

Apart from this, on Sunday, the Union Health Ministry said that as many as 29,707 inbound passengers from 137 flights were screened for the virus at airports. All the passengers tested negative. However, after a case of coronavirus was confirmed in Nepal, health teams have been told to be more vigilant.

In India, as many as a 100 people from Kerala and Maharashtra have been kept under observation for the virus. In North India, a girl in Bihar and a doctor in Rajasthan, both of them returning from China, are feared to have contracted the disease and are being further tested.

So far, the virus has killed at least 80 people in China and has affected another 2,800. Apart from that, 43 cases have been reported from outside China.

The spreading of coronavirus is creating a panic situation across the world, with health experts fearing that the disease could cause a repeat of the deadly SARS infection of 2002-03 that broke out in China. It had killed over 770 people in a global outbreak. The coronavirus can also cause SARS.