Willing to maintain close communication with India on coronavirus, says Chinese Embassy spokesperson

New Delhi [India], Jan 30 (ANI): China on Thursday expressed its keenness to continue maintaining close communication with the Government of India regarding its efforts to deal with the situation arising out of coronavirus outbreak.

"We are willing to continue to maintain close communication with the Indian side, provide necessary assistance and convenience to ensure the health and safety of Indian citizens in China, and address their legitimate concerns timely," said Counselor Ji Rong, spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy here, on Thursday.

"We also hope the Indian side could continue to render understanding and support to China's efforts in epidemic prevention and control," added the spokesperson.

The novel coronavirus has killed more than 170 people and infected hundreds of others in the East Asian country.

"The Chinese government attaches great importance to safeguarding the health of every foreign national in China including the Indian people," he added.

The Ministry of External Affairs initiated the evacuation of Indian citizens residing in Wuhan -- the epicentre of the deadly virus outbreak -- on Tuesday after talks with the Chinese authorities.

The Chinese government had requested for permission to operate two flights to evacuate Indians from the central Chinese province of Hubei.

The envoy said his country believes that the international community will assess the epidemic situation in "an objective, just, calm and reasonable way, and will continue to strengthen international cooperation, work with all parties to jointly tackle the epidemic and safeguard regional and global public health security."

"The Chinese government has mobilised all the national resources to ensure the supply of medical equipment and living materials in Wuhan. We have full capability, confidence, and resources to win the battle against the epidemic at an early date," he further said.

The Indian government has issued a travel advisory, asking its people to refrain from travelling to China.

Thermal screening facilities, as a precautionary measure, have been extended to 21 airports now including Gaya, Guwahati, Vizag, Varanasi, and Goa.

A total of 33,552 passengers arriving in India from China in 155 flights have been screened at different airports till Monday.

The Wuhan novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been identified before. The exact source of infection of 2019 nCoV is not known yet.

Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause respiratory illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

The symptoms reported in patients with nCoV include acute onset of fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing. The infection results in severe complications and even death.

China has imposed quarantine and travel restrictions, affecting the movement of 56 million people in more than a dozen cities, amid fears that the transmission rate will accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel for the Lunar New Year.

Following India, some other countries including the United States and Canada have also started evacuating their nationals from the Chinese province. (ANI)